In Memory: Norman J. Bender

Norman Bender, a founding member of the Department of History, died Feb. 15 in Colorado Springs. He was 85.

Norm Bender
Norm Bender

Survivors include his wife, Eugenia; a son, Norman C.; a daughter, Elizabeth C. Connnell; two grandchildren. Private services are planned at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the CU Foundation’s UCCS History
Gift Fund. Checks should be made to “CU Foundation” with “In memory of Dr. Norman
Bender” in the memo line or in an accompanying letter. Gifts can be mailed to the CU
Foundation, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, Colo., 80918 or delivered to Main Hall 312.
The Bender family will be provided the names of the individuals who contribute unless otherwise requested.

Dr. Bender joined the UCCS Department of History in 1971 as an instructor. He was later a visiting assistant professor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor before his retirement in 1992. Following his retirement, he continued to teach part-time in the Department of History until 2003. He primarily taught U.S. history including a popular Civil War and Reconstruction course. His publications included “Winning the West for Christ: Sheldon Jackson and Presbyterianism on the Rocky Mountain Frontier, 1869-1880” (University of New Mexico Press, 1996) and “Missionaries, Outlaws and Indians: Taylor F. Ealy at Lincoln and Zuni, 1878-1881.”

Prior to joining UCCS, Dr. Bender was a teaching assistant at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and assistant business manager for Fort Lewis College, Durango. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1946-47 and 1953-1957 and was an instructor at the Air Force Finance School. He was credited with establishing the cadet payroll system for the U.S. Air Force Academy, then at Lowry Air Force Base.

A native of St. Louis, Mo., and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, he earned an undergraduate degree from Washington University, St. Louis, and master’s and doctoral degrees from CU-Boulder.

In 2002, Dr. Bender was recognized by the Colorado Springs Pioneers Association for his role in organizing the region’s first National History Day Competition in 1980 and for his role as president of the Friends of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. He worked tirelessly to preserve the 1903 El Paso County Courthouse from demolition. He was also recognized as Professor of the Year in 1973.

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