New Scholarship Created- Ralph and Phyllis Bence Scholarship
Ralph and Phyllis Bence Scholarship Fund
Ralph Bence was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1923. He was an only child, raised by a single mother, who never met his father. Phyllis Bacon was born in 1927. They met at a local dance. Ralph loved to jitterbug.
In 1946, after WW11, they married. Their first son was born the following year, weighing only 2 pounds 2 ounces. They weren’t sure he would survive. The couple had no insurance and the baby’s hospital bills were astronomical. Ralph dropped out of college, worked hard to support his family and paid every penny he owed.
Twelve years later, another son arrived and they moved to Three Rivers to begin a new life. Phyllis worked at Michigan Power. She loved to cook and entertain. Papa was a businessman who ran the local Firestone store. He enjoyed fishing, building model trains and smoked a long-stemmed pipe.
Neither of their sons finished high school. The older, mentally ill, and the younger an alcoholic who died at 42, shortly after his mother Phyllis.
Papa lived to be 92. He was small in stature, but a big man in so many ways. This gift he has given you, is a fine example of that. In his last days, he envisioned a future he knew he wouldn’t be around to see- one in which a life he had touched became a person of whom he could be extremely proud of.
If nothing else remember this: that it is not your circumstances that dictate who you will become. That is only for you to decide. Go forth and make my old man proud.