Melvin "Pete" Burnett Bender was born April 21, 1932 at Fulton, SD to Theodore and Celia (Brakke) Bender. He grew up on the family farm near Fulton and attended country grade school. He played basketball and graduated from Fulton High School in 1950 and graduated from Mitchell Business College with a business degree. On March 9, 1952 he married Dorothy Ann Cummings in Mitchell. In 1956 they moved to Mitchell. He worked for Lakeside Dairy for several years and then was employed as a route driver for Modern, Scott’s Vallet and Palace Cleaners for numerous years. He worked for the Randall’s Food Store and presently Coborn’s for twenty years. He was a member of the Mitchell Wesleyan Church and the Moose Lodge. Melvin was an avid bowler and enjoyed camping, fishing and spending time with his family. He loved to tell stories of his younger years and became quite a historian.
He is survived by his four daughters: Peggy (John) Rassel, Fulton; Lynette Bender, Sioux Falls; Dawn Bender, Moore, OK; and Cheryl (Dennis ) Kunkel, Mitchell; eleven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, three sisters: Shirley (Gary) Ritzman, Madison; Judy (Matt) Dillon, Hollywood, MD; and Carolyn Easton, Mitchell.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothy March 11, 2014, two sons: Michael and Jerry, one brother, Bud and one sister, Jean Schutte, sister-in-law, Jean Bender, brother-in-law, James Mountain, uncle, Ed Bender and his beloved pet, Angel.