Posted On August 12th, 2010 -

Melvin Mossman Bender


Mel Bender of Honolulu passed away peacefully on July 30, 2010. He was 92 years old.

Mel is survived by his devoted wife of 68 years Mildred, daughter Annette (Roger) Hartman, daughter-in-law Brenda Bender, grandchildren Christine Bender, David Bender, James McNiel, Michael (Jennifer) McNiel and great-grandchildren April and two “soon-to-be” little ones. Mel was sadly preceded in death by his son Richard and daughter Carol.

He retired in 1983 as General Superintendent of the Waterfront Division for Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company. Mel loved his work and was proud to be a member of the Hawaiian Dredging ohana. A hard-driving supervisor who never asked any member of his crew to do anything he himself would not do, his reputation lived on well into his retirement years.

His work with Hawaiian Dredging took him to Eniwetok when the first hydrogen bomb was tested. On Kwajalein the project was a Nike-Zeus missile tracking system. As a hardhat diver for Pacific Bridge during WWII, he participated in underwater rescue and salvage efforts in Pearl Harbor.

Mel was a sportsman. He did it all – football, baseball, weight training, boxing, hunting, fishing – everything. Golf was his game in his later years. His many good friends in both the Hawaiian Dredging and the Aloha Dental Club groups can attest to how good he was. In 1993 at age 75 he earned bragging rights for shooting better than his age – a 72 at Moanalua Golf Club where he was a charter member.

Mel, third eldest of eleven siblings, grew up in Keapana, Kauai and is survived by sisters Bernice Braun, Gertrude Rodrigues, Lillian Cameron and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by siblings Darcloud, Beatrice, Clarence, Lawrence and James Bender, Bertha Kealalio and Tom Paris.

For Mel “living a good life” was being able to take whatever tools were at hand and use his experience, wits, muscles and sweat to accomplish whatever he set out to do.

His service will be held on Wednesday, August 18th, at Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, 1184 Bishop Street. Parking available on lower level of Century Square, 1188 Bishop St. Visitation from 9:00A to 9:45A. Mass at 10:00A. Family and friends are invited to share refreshments and stories after Mass. Private burial later in the day at Valley of the Temples.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran