Published in The Republican
on November 3, 2010
WILBRAHAM - John Bemben,
95, of Wilbraham, passed away on Wednesday, October 27, at Wingate at
Hampden. Born in Hadley, MA, a son of the late Joseph and Regina (Konjgak)
Bemben, he resided in Wilbraham since 1959.
John was the beloved husband of the late Bernice "Bunny" (Hall)
Bemben who passed away in 2000. John was one of the "Founding Five"
at Friendly Ice Cream in Wilbraham, starting in 1946 when there were only
He was instrumental in the construction of the Friendly Ice Cream Headquarters
in Wilbraham in 1959 and a 2nd plant in Troy, Ohio in 1975. After 30 years
of service, he retired in 1976 as Vice President of Production.
John was an Executive Committee member, a member of the Board of Directors
and Chairman of various committees while at the company. He graduated
from Hopkins Academy in 1933 and Governor Dummer Academy in 1935 and later
graduated with a B.S. Degree in Mathematics from Mass. State College (now
U. Mass Amherst) in 1939.
While at Mass. State, he was very active in sports serving on the Varsity
Baseball team as Co-Captain for 3 years and the Varsity Basketball team
for 3 years as Captain. He was a star basketball player in the region
and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a left-handed pitcher until
he injured his arm. He worked at Westinghouse from 1940-1941, in charge
of the R.M.R. Department, then joined Coca Cola.
John served his country in the U.S. Navy as a Lt. (J.G.) during WW II,
from 1942-1945 with Admiral Nimitz's staff in the Pacific arena. He was
a member of Wilbraham United Church for over 50 years and was active on
several of its committees.
After retiring, John enjoyed boating on his Grand Banks trawler, golfing
He is survived by his three children, Richard Bemben of Gloucester, Ellen
Bemben of Wilbraham, and Anne Jones of Wilbraham. He had only one surviving
sibling of 4, brother Joseph Bemben, of Hadley.
John leaves 4 beloved grandchildren, Amy Jones Patton of New Providence,
NJ, Meridith Bemben of South Boston, MA, Juliana Bemben of Brighton, MA
and 1 great granddaughter, Caitlin Patton of New Providence, NJ. He also
leaves many wonderful nieces and nephews, and their families, from New
England to Texas.
The family wishes to sincerely thank his wonderful health care assistant
of 10 years, Stella Marx, of Capuano Home Care, and the staff at Wingate
of Hampden for their sincere efforts at making John's end of life time
as warm and as comfortable as possible.
Family and friends are invited to John's memorial service on Saturday,
Nov. 27, at 10 a.m. at Wilbraham United Church, 500 Main St., Wilbraham,
followed by a gathering in its Fellowship Hall until 1 p.m. Burial will
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested a donation be made to the
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 North Randolph Street, suite 225,
Arlington, VA 22203.
Checks should be made payable to NMCRS (or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society).
On the memo line, lower left corner of the check, please write: In Memory
of John Bemben.
Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center has been entrusted
with the arrangements.