Kathleen Marie Prabel Bender
Born: January 27, 1956
Passed: November 1, 2004
Marie Prabel was born in the dead of winter on the 27th of January, 1956. She was the only daughter to Robert and Madeline Prabel. She was Mike Prabel’s little sister, his only sibling. Kathy soon became known as their adorable little “Chatty Kathy”, the dynamic little tot who never stopped talking.
She was that cute little kid running around the neighborhood in Saint Clair Shores Michigan in the 50s and 60s.
Family was always important to Kathy and she remained close to her family all of her life. She loved going over to her parents home and visiting both in Saint Clair Shores and also at their cottage in Stoney Point Canada.
When we think of Kathy, we think of a gentle, soft spoken soul. Kathy was very well liked and had a number of long term friends. She cherished and nourished her friendships. She was a fun person to be with. Her happy, friendly, soft spoken way attracted many people to her. She was a kind, loving and generous person. Always a smile on her face, always willing to help out, whether it be in a small way such as clearing the dinner table and pitching in to do the dishes or in a more important way, such as helping a friend or a relative out financially in times of need.
She was a proud, happy, intelligent student at Saint Clair Community College, earning her RN degree in 1978. Earning the RN degree was without a doubt the proudest moment in her life. Subsequently, she became a dedicated young nurse as she tended to her patients in the burn unit for the first year and a half of her career as an RN. To many of her patients in the burn unit she was their angel of mercy, the young, beautiful nurse who tended their wounds and eased their pain with her gentle ministrations. Thereafter, she worked with the mentally challenged for 21 years as a dedicated and compassionate psychiatric nurse who tried to bring some semblance of order and soul healing to her troubled charges. She remained in this field until her retirement.
Kathy was a very spiritual person with a strong faith in God and the angels and saints. She had her personal meditation room in all of her homes, a quiet place where she could go to light a candle, meditate and pray. She turned to God and to her guardian angel and spiritual guides for assistance in times of trouble and always felt that her prayers were answered.
Kathy was a loving, dedicated aunt to Mike’s children, Kristi and Nicole, often expending hours of love and devotion to her beloved nieces. She was a godmother to Nicole, being very proud of and conscientious in her fulfillment of this role. She was a dutiful and loving niece to her aunts and uncles. She was a dear friend to many.
Kathy was an excellent cook and often put out very elaborate spreads during the holidays. Her tables were overflowing with dishes of every kind all cooked to perfection. Also deserts of every sort from cakes and pies to candies and confectionaries.
Never having had any children of her own, Kathy was a loving “Mama” to her cats, lavishing an abundance of love and devotion on them. She loved all of God’s little creatures, receiving a great deal of happiness from feeding the birds and squirrels and assorted wild animals who wandered into her back yard. She got a great deal of pleasure out of convincing a squirrel to eat out of her hand.
She met and then married Doug Bender Sr. on the 13th of June, 1992. They moved into a lovely home on Stamford Street in Livonia. They later moved near Kathy’s parents in Saint Clair Shores. It was a quiet and lovely tree lined street. Kathy loved working in the garden, planting and nurturing her flowers and plants.
Kathy was in pain for more than 12 years before her death. She thought her bone pain was arthritis, but it could very well have been bone cancer. She was treated poorly by her family doctor who never realized that she was suffering from cancer, even though she was forced to retire from her job of 21 years due to severe pain. In May of 2004 Kathy was admitted to the hospital for jaundice. She was taken to St. John’s hospital by her husband Doug over Memorial Day weekend. She was quickly diagnosed with terminal cancer which had invaded her pancreas and liver and had also spread throughout her body. The doctor said they could have treated it a year or two earlier but now it was too late. Kathy was entered into the hospice program.
Actually, a correct diagnosis was a relief to Kathy. Now she knew what was causing all her pain and exhaustion. Kathy was placed on IV pain medication and for over 4 months carried her IV fluids in a back pack. Kathy remained very upbeat in her attitude that last summer, going to her parents’ cottage in July and to Frankfort with Doug’s family the end of August. She remained on her feet and actively participated in most family activities, only giving up and going to bed in exhaustion after dinner.
Kathy was very accepting of her impending passing from this world into the next. She was a very spiritual person and was looking forward to her new life in Heaven. She suffered a lot despite the ever increasing pain medication but she seldom complained, bearing her great discomfort stoically.
Kathy slipped into a coma the second half of October and was lovingly and devotedly cared for on a 24 hour basis by her husband, brother and her parents. She passed away peacefully on all Saints Day, calling out Doug’s name at the moment of her passing at 9:15 am on the 1st of November, 2004.
Kathy, you touched many, many lives in your short 48 years on this earth plane and surely you will never be forgotten by all of us who loved you dearly. May you walk in the light with God and His angels and saints in your new found home.
Written by Sandy Bender Wilhelm