Blake John Bender was born August 11, 1970 and died a short 21 years later on Wednesday, November 27, 1991 in a tragic car accident.
The accident happened in Fort Payne, Alabama when Blake was a passenger in a friend's car. Although Blake was air-lifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, TN, he did not survive the accident. Massive head and chest injuries claimed his young life -- and left family and friends to wonder "Why"...
Blake was the third child in a family of five children. He was the family clown and could evoke laughter from everyone when he was around. Sadly, it wasn't until he died that we, his family, learned how many lives he had really touched. Both the memorial service and the funeral were attended by literally hundreds of people who told stories of the talents and gifts he shared with so many people. It seems that Blake made it a personal goal to contribute positively to as many people's lives as possible. Among the personal effects returned to our family was something that has a special story behind it...
During a summer break from college (we think it was 1990), Blake took a job selling books in the Houston, Texas area. One day at the beginning of his workday, Blake was approached by a homeless man who asked him for money. With little money to live on that summer, Blake had nothing to give him, but instead invited him to share the sweet roll and drink he had just bought for breakfast. The two of them talked for more than an hour before Blake had to return to his book-selling route. Before leaving, the homeless man reached into his pocket and retrieved a set of wooden rosary beads which he gave to Blake, thanking him for his friendship and kindness. Blake carried those rosary beads with him every day for the rest of his life -- including on the day he died. Since they were returned to our family, our Dad has carried them with him everyday.
Nothing can describe the all-consuming sense of loss that we all have felt since Blake's death. The passing of time does not lessen the grief -- it is simply the passing of time...and we just try each day to learn more ways to cope with the empty place left in our lives.
Blake was, and continues to be, a light in many people's lives and will be with us forever. There are days when we call each other to share a dream or a feeling about Blake...I am convinced that he is with us always, watching over us and guiding us.
We love you, Blake, and miss you very much.
This memorial will be updated on a regular basis, and pictures will be added. If you have anything you would like to contribute, or if you have any suggestions, please let me know by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents: Jerry & Fran Bender
Sister: Dana B. Groves
Brothers: Cullen Bender, Justin Bender, Brandon Bender
Nephew: Taylor Groves