Stephen Eugene Bender, 64, passed away on November 9, 2023 in Olathe, KS.
He was born on August 26, 1959 to Eugene and Marilyn (Schmoeger) Bender in Kansas City, KS. Steve attended Kansas State University before transferring to Arizona State University.
At ASU, he earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting and embarked on a career in radio and advertising in the Phoenix area. He also met his future wife, Brenda Lopez, at ASU. They were married from 1988 to 2010 and had two children, Brandon and Nicole.
In the late 1980s, he moved back to his native Kansas City. He started his own advertising agency, Media Impressions, in 1997, creating television and radio ads for numerous KC-area businesses, including Shawnee Mission Ford, Family Tree Nursery, Robin Nigro Golf Academy, Margarita’s Amigos, and more. Steve’s advertising work was recognized in 2001, when he won a Silver Microphone Award for excellence in audio advertising. Steve also worked in real estate in the 2000s.
Steve’s outgoing personality made him a natural salesman, but more importantly, meant he could make fast friends with almost anyone. He enjoyed visiting Powell Observatory in Louisburg and learning about astronomy, as well as following the Chiefs and Royals. Steve also enjoyed the company of animals throughout his life, such as his beloved Doberman Pinscher, Asia, and his cats, Max and Shadow.
AA became a central role in Steve’s life from 2008 onward, and he was always willing to share his journey to sobriety with others. He sponsored others in the program and attended meetings daily. Steve suffered strokes in 2020, which precluded him from his former level of involvement, but he enjoyed receiving visitors from the program at his nursing facility.
Steve is survived by his children, Brandon (Ellen) and Nicole (Milan), his former spouse, Brenda, his sister, Lynn, and his nephew, Ryan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gene and Marilyn.
The memorial will be held on Thursday, November 16 at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home, 14275 S Black Bob Rd, Olathe, KS 66062. Visitation begins at 10 am, with the service to follow at 11.
Memorials in his honor are suggested to the Humane Society of Kansas City or the Astronomical Society of Kansas City.
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