The Springfield Republican
has an obituary on the passing of former UMass baseball and basketball star John Bemben, who died at the age of 95 on Oct. 27. The Wilbraham resident 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 UMass 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.
John Bemben 1914-2010 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 three stores. 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 and gardening. 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 be private. 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.