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In loving memory of
Elizabeth Ann Craciun-Bender
  • August 31, 1952
  • -
  • June 06, 2019

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Obituary

Elizabeth (Liz) Craciun-Bender, a 40+ year resident of Lee County passed away on June 6, 2019, at the age of 66, at her home in North Fort Myers, FL.

Liz is survived by her husband, Gary Bender, and sons Nicholas and Matthew Bender, brother Charles Craciun Jr., and sister Kimberly Craciun. She is predeceased by her father Charles Craciun Sr. and mother Carmen Craciun.

Liz was born in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated Wayne Memorial High School in 1970. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work at Eastern Michigan University in 1974. Liz obtained a Master of Social Work in Social Casework at Wayne State University in Michigan in 1978. Upon graduation, she decided to relocate to Florida knowing that her parents were going to be retiring and moving to the Dominican Republic in the near future.

Liz found employment at Lee Mental Health Center (later known as Ruth Cooper Center for Behavioral Health Care) as a clinical social worker counseling adults. She joined the National Association of Social Workers, FL Chapter, in 1978 and became a LCSW after gaining a few years of work experience.  She remained at Ruth Cooper Center for 19 years and halfway through her tenure, she switched to counseling children 0 – 8 years of age. In addition to meeting the clinical needs of her clients and families, Liz spearheaded the Parenting Program, Project Prevent, and the Redlands contracts. Because of her experience working with young children and National Head Start looking to add a mental health component to their program, she was recruited by the Lee County School District. Liz was responsible for developing and implementing the aforementioned facet of the program as their first Mental Health Specialist. Liz’s tenure with the Lee County School District spanned almost 21 years and she was a member of the Early Childhood Learning Services Team that supported Head Start, Early Head Start, and Pre-K students, their families, and teachers. Liz not only had a passion working with children, she was committed to supervising and mentoring staff over the years. Her nurturing spirit will always remain a part of who she was.

It was this nurturing spirit, commitment, compassion, and kindness that made her a great mother and wife.

Liz enjoyed going to concerts, plays, cooking, travelling, and boating. She was very fond of animals and was an avid reader.  She was a loyal Tampa Bay and Detroit sports fan. She enjoyed going to baseball, hockey, and football games with family and friends. Liz was a religious person with a big heart who always tried to assist others. She will be deeply missed by everyone that she touched.

A memorial service is scheduled to start at 2:00 on July 20 (Saturday) at Hope Hospice. The address is 2430 Diplomat Pkwy E, Cape Coral, FL 33909. Rev. Dr. James Rankin McGougan will officiate. After the service, there will be light refreshments available. If you wish to send flowers, Hospice personnel can accept a flower delivery on July 19th or 20th. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association, www.abta.org, may be offered to continue research to find a cure for brain cancer.

Family and friends may sign the guest register and/or leave condolence messages at www.baldwincremation.com.  Affordable Cremations by Baldwin Brothers.


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Tribute Wall

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  1. 24 Jul 2019
    Gary J. Bender says:
    Thanks everyone for supporting my wife and family this past year. Liz was truly blessed to have such great friends and family who loved her dearly. I would also like to thank everyone who was able to attend my wife's celebration of life service on 7/20/19. Your comments during the service were a testament to Liz's never ending kindness and compassion for all she touched.

  2. 21 Jul 2019
    Kathy Anton lit a candle:
    Lit since July 21, 2019 at 7:32:30 PM

  3. 20 Jul 2019
    Linda Cain Harris lit a candle:
    Lit since July 20, 2019 at 7:22:21 PM

  4. 19 Jul 2019
    Jeanne Franklin lit a candle:
    Lit since July 19, 2019 at 7:10:06 PM

  5. 17 Jul 2019
    Laura Furderer lit a candle:
    Lit since July 17, 2019 at 7:34:07 PM

  6. 14 Jul 2019
    Steve and Janie Sailors lit a candle:
    Lit since July 14, 2019 at 7:40:21 PM

  7. 10 Jul 2019
    Ilse Guerra lit a candle:
    Lit since July 10, 2019 at 7:22:54 PM

  8. 10 Jul 2019
    Flint and Jennifer says:
    We miss your beautiful smile, Liz. Godspeed.

  9. 09 Jul 2019
    Jean Sinko lit a candle:
    Lit since July 9, 2019 at 7:57:38 PM

  10. 09 Jul 2019
    Gaby Penton lit a candle:
    Lit since July 9, 2019 at 7:08:55 AM

  11. 09 Jul 2019
    Gaby Penton lit a candle:
    Lit since July 9, 2019 at 7:07:46 AM

  12. 08 Jul 2019
    Patricia Howard lit a candle:
    Lit since July 8, 2019 at 7:49:50 AM

  13. 07 Jul 2019
    Yolanda Figueroa lit a candle:
    Lit since July 7, 2019 at 7:02:27 PM

  14. 07 Jul 2019
    Yolanda Figueroa lit a candle:
    Lit since July 7, 2019 at 7:59:12 PM

  15. 06 Jul 2019
    Sandy Magnante says:
    You will truly be missed...you shared your kind and caring spirit and enriched the lives of those you touched beyond measure.

  16. 05 Jul 2019
    Marlette West lit a candle:
    Lit since July 5, 2019 at 7:19:04 PM

  17. 05 Jul 2019
    Marlette West lit a candle:
    Lit since July 5, 2019 at 7:18:23 PM

  18. 05 Jul 2019
    Marlette West posted an image:
    Liz, Marlette, Rebecca, You shared a special moment my Engagement Party
    Liz, Marlette, Rebecca, You shared a special moment my Engagement Party

  19. 04 Jul 2019
    Ilsa Martinez lit a candle:
    Lit since July 4, 2019 at 7:11:45 PM

  20. 03 Jul 2019
    J.M. lit a candle:
    Lit since July 3, 2019 at 7:15:12 PM

  21. 02 Jul 2019
    Heidy Gaona & Family lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:21:49 PM

  22. 02 Jul 2019
    Heidy Gaona & Family lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:20:57 PM

  23. 02 Jul 2019
    Jimmy and Susanne Fargnoli says:
    Liz was an inspiration for all of us in the helping professions. “Liz was a Social Worker, what’s your superpower?”

  24. 02 Jul 2019
    Susan Smell lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:31:29 PM

  25. 02 Jul 2019
    Amy BarnesVQHT lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:56:33 PM

  26. 02 Jul 2019
    Matthew Bender posted an image:
    Love you Mom!
    Love you Mom!

  27. 02 Jul 2019
    Sharon Wysocki lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:45:02 PM

  28. 02 Jul 2019
    ingrid Ortez9Hp lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:32:45 PM

  29. 02 Jul 2019
    Michelle and Ashley Ortiz lit a candle:
    Lit since July 2, 2019 at 7:30:25 PM

  30. 02 Jul 2019
    Sharra says:
    Liz was pure joy to be around and understood the importance of friendship and caring for each other. She is truly missed. I wish all her family and friends well.

  31. 02 Jul 2019
    Zavia Pickens says:
    Sending my most sincerest condolences to the family. Liz was a wonderful person to work with. She will be truly missed. An angel has gained her wings...

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