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Dennis T. Bender | 1953–2021


On December 9, 2021, we lost our friend and coworker, the irreplaceable Dennis T. Bender.

Dennis came to the Missoula Family YMCA 18 years ago. He'd recently turned 50 and wanted to make healthy changes in his life. As Dennis would say, "It's never too late to unhook the stars."

Dennis found his groove in his 50s and 60s, competing in his first official race, our YMCA's Riverbank Run 5K. He continued on to complete the Boston Marathon as well as several Spartan Beasts and Ironmans. And we certainly can't forget about the Missoula Marathon, where he was a legacy runner.

Dennis was an athlete, and he was so much more. For the last 18 years, Dennis was our coach, our mentor, our inspiration, our eternal optimist, and, most importantly, our dear friend.

He is very missed.

No matter where you turn, every Y member has a Dennis story. We invite you to share yours. Email, stop by the Y, or use the form below to share your favorite Dennis stories and photos. All stories and photos will be shared with his wife and daughter.

Separately, a GoFundMe has been organized by Dennis' friends to help offset expenses that his family will face. Click here to learn more or to support the fundraiser.

Those wishing to swim, bike, or run/walk for Dennis to help us reach our collective goal of 2,022 miles can click here to submit their mileage totals.

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