About Kathryn

Kathryn Mary Bender was a beautiful, spirited, and gifted 17 year old. Born on April 15, 1988, she lived her entire life very close to downtown Naperville and loved being in walking distance to all of her favorite places. Her schooling began at Hobson Cooperative Nursery School where her first connections to teachers and friends began. She moved onto Naper Elementary School, Washington Junior High School, and then Naperville North High School where she continued to bond with teachers and friends.

Kathryn had a very peaceful, gentle, caring approach to all she met. Some of us were even fortunate enough to see that fun-loving witty sense of humor. And we can’t forget to mention that smile!

Kathryn developed a love of dance at an early age. She danced for 13 years experiencing many different styles such as tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, ballet, pointe and yes, even hip-hop. She was so excited to be given the opportunity to teach dance to young children, especially when she found out that it would be ballet. This was definitely her favorite style! Kathryn was a great role model for these children because she also had great role models in her life. Those people helped her to know that teaching was the path she needed to follow. She applied to and was accepted at Northern Illinois University where she would have studied Elementary Education with a minor in dance. She was nervous, yet filled with so much excitement.

Beginning at a young age and continuing into high school, Kathryn experienced life to the fullest. She played soccer, joined girl scouts, played the flute, sang in the choir, joined a church group, played the piano, became a shepherd for the Children’s Liturgy at her church, and performed in musicals and plays. Kathryn did her best in everything she was a part of and this also included her studies.

Her goal was to receive the 4.0 award for all 8 semesters of high school. She was on her way and would have reached that honor, but her life ended on November 20, 2005 during her senior year.

Kathryn will live on in the memories and hearts of all those who knew her. She will continue to help others through the use of the Kathryn Bender Memorial Funds.

As part of our family, we knew what a remarkable young lady Kathryn was, but it wasn’t until her passing that we realized how many other people realized that as well. Oh what an amazing amount of lives she touched. Kathryn truly taught us what an enormous impact one person can make with the time they are given on this earth. Of all the lessons that this young teacher taught us, the most important is to remember that even something as simple as a smile can change a life.