Viola Fern (Slabaugh) Bender


ALAMOSA — Viola was born July 13, 1925 in La Grange, Ind. to Daniel and Martha Slabaugh, one of five children.

She passed into eternal glory on April 15, 2019 at The Bridge in Alamosa, Colo.

Viola was six weeks old when the family moved to Hartville, Ohio where they lived, played and worked for many years.

At a young age she accepted Christ and loved and served Him all of her life.

On June 1, 1947, she married Claude Bender; they were married for 67 years and were blessed with six children: Cheryle Gingerich from Seattle, Wash., Lowell Bender from Wellington, Kan., Rebecca Bender from Alamosa, Colo., Regina (Bob) Rice from Alamosa, Colo., Nadine (Nathan) Kuehl from Windsor, Colo. and Myrna (Stan) Miller from Laramie, Wyo.

She has 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The family lived in Ohio until 1958, when they moved to Pennsylvania where Viola worked part-time as a nurse aide to help support the family while Claude attended Bowman Technical School for watchmaker/clock repair.

In 1960, they moved to Albuquerque, N.M. where they lived for only 18 months.

The family moved to Rocky Ford, Colo. in 1962 and Viola and Claude remained in Rocky Ford until 1995 when they moved to Fort Morgan, Colo.

In 2009 they moved to Alamosa to be closer to two of their daughters.

With a desire to help financially with the family’s expenses and to help and serve others, Viola made the decision to go to nursing school, but that required that she either had a high school diploma or a GED. 

Caring for her ailing mother when she was in high school prevented her from obtaining her high school diploma, so she set about working for her GED which she successfully completed in 1968. 

From 1969-1970, with four children still in the home (the oldest had married and moved away, one was away at college) she attended nursing school in La Junta, Colo. and accomplished her goal of becoming an LPN.

Over the span of her career, she worked as a nurse in numerous capacities: a night nurse at Pioneer Memorial Hospital; a nurse in a doctor’s office for many years; and as a nurse at the local nursing home – all in Rocky Ford, Colo.

In 1992, she retired, but continued to work part-time at the local nursing home.

Church was always a vital part of Viola and Claude’s life and they participated as actively as their health would allow, attending First Christian Church in Alamosa.

The Alamosa Senior Center was also an important place as they grew older.

Both Viola and Claude were active members at the center in Alamos  It was a place where they could socialize, get a good meal and participate in various events.

Viola and Claude both enjoyed traveling and nature.

With six children they took vacations to California, Montana and numerous times to Indiana and Ohio where the extended family lived, a vacation of touring Colorado and the many beautiful areas available right here.

Money was tight, so they traveled by car (usually a station wagon), camping out along the way with a cooler full of bread, lunch meat, vegetables and fruit. Eating in a restaurant was a rare treat.

Viola was a person who genuinely loved and cared about people — she truly cared about them and each one felt that from her.

No matter where she was, she would engage people in conversation with an earnest desire to get to know them. She maintained a positive attitude about most everything that came her way, up to and including her death, relying on her faith in God to supply strength, courage, wisdom or whatever was needed in any situation.

Friends and family were dearly important to her. Her family brought her the greatest joy and passing on to her children a love for the Lord and faith in Him was of utmost importance to her; she provided them with a powerful example in the life she lived.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at the First Christian Church on the corner of First Street and State Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that you consider making a contribution to one of the following:

First Christian Church – 518 First St – Alamosa, CO  81101

Hospice del Valle – 514 Main St – Alamosa, CO  81101

Alamosa Senior Center – 92 Colorado Ave – Alamosa, CO  81101

Rogers Family Mortuary of Alamsoa is in care of arrangements. To leave online condolences for Viola’s family visit