Bender’s Impact felt locally and nationally
Former Carroll White REMC Board President Kevin Michael Bender passed away on Aug. 10. His loss continues to be felt not only by those at the REMC, but by scores of people on the community and national level as well.
Remembered as a trusted friend, community leader, and faithful servant to the cooperative principles, Bender, 63, died at his rural Carroll County home after battling cancer for the past seven years. His wife, Denise, and his three sons, Kyle, Kris and Karson, were at his side.
the REMC board of directors in 2008. He played a key role in the consolidation between Carroll County REMC and White County REMC. In 2017, he was elected to serve as CW REMC’s board president, a position he held until this year.
Current Board President Kent Zimpfer praised Bender for his servant’s heart. “He had a saying in our boardroom that I will never forget: ‘We are servant leaders for our community,’ ” Zimpfer said. “He helped lead CW REMC in a new direction that we will follow for years to come.
“Kevin was a man of incredible integrity and showed humility in both his roles for CW REMC and the Bank of Wolcott,” Zimpfer continued. “His leadership was respected by all who knew him.”
CW REMC CEO Cathy Raderstorf noted Bender cultivated trust and collaboration with all who worked with him. “Kevin’s financial background and servant leadership style made him a great asset to the CW REMC board,” Raderstorf said. “His poise, logical thinking and respect for others were traits that made him special.”
Bender’s impact extended past the Carroll County community. For the past two years, he served on the Cooperative Finance Corporation board of directors. CFC is a finance cooperative that services electric cooperatives nationwide. Bender represented District 4 which includes Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
“Kevin’s strong financial and rural utility background made him an insightful contributor to the CFC board of directors,” CFC Chief Executive Officer Andrew Don said. “His keen intellect, coupled with his calm and warm demeanor, will be greatly missed by both the board of directors and the CFC staff.”
Bender was named president and CEO of Bank of Wolcott in 2010 after previously working as a lender there. He had begun his banking career at Camden State Bank in 1992. During his tenure at Bank of Wolcott, the bank more than doubled in size and was considered one of the most financially sound and efficiently managed banks in Indiana, while remaining deeply
rooted in the community.
Beginning in March 2021, Bender served as chairman of the bank’s board and advisor which provided more time for him to mentor young bankers. He was also able to pursue other interests, most notably a joint agriculture venture with his son, Kris.
“Kevin’s leadership and sound approach to business was instrumental to the bank’s growth over the last 10 years,” Bank of Wolcott President and CEO Jeremy Siegle said. “More importantly, Kevin’s authenticity, humility and servant heart left a lasting impression on our employees and their families.”
Bender was a board member and long-time classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of White County. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Delphi, where he served as the finance council chairman, lector and CCD religious instructor for the junior and senior classes.
For 25 years, he and wife Denise owned and operated Ready Set Go Children’s Center.
A 1977 DeKalb High School graduate, Bender earned an agricultural degree from Purdue University as well as a degree from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking. At Purdue University, he was elected to Mortar Board and served as president of the FarmHouse Fraternity. He was a longtime treasurer of the Purdue FarmHouse Foundation, engaging with fellow alumni to support the educational pursuits of young men.
Born on Feb. 4, 1959, in Angola, Indiana, to Lavon and Rosemary (Miller) Bender, Bender married Denise M. Hummel on July 5, 1986. Survivors include Denise; sons Kyle (Kathleen), Kris (Alanna) and Karson (Brittney Burnett); grandsons Kace Michael and Kolt Monroe; and granddaughter Khyler Mae.