Chicago Singer, Actor, Model — Mr. Clean — Dies at 78

Fred Bender's family says he was a great storyteller and that among the stories he loved to tell were those about portraying "Mr. Clean" in live appearances for Proctor & Gamble in the 50s.

Bender, known by many of his Lincoln Park neighbors for his outgoing and friendly personality, died Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Vitas Hospice in San Antonio, Texas, of complications from pneumonia after a long illness.

His second-cousin, Mike Cleary, wrote a fitting tribute to Bender. It's posted on another relative's blog and presents a picture of a talented, friendly, inviting and inclusive man whose door was always open.

And Bender was an accomplished musician, according to a Chicago Tribune article, which stated that he was awarded a scholarship by the Chicago Conservatory of Music in the 20s.

"He had a whole series of careers," the Tribune quotes Bender's brother, Ralph, as saying. "His first career was in singing. I imagine he sang in almost all of the Catholic churches in Chicago."

According to Cleary, Bender was proceeded in death by "his best friend and partner, Carter Reed, his brother, Robert, sister Roberta and his parents Elsie and Robert Bender."

Funeral services will be private.

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