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Bender, A. L. (Austin Letheridge), 1916-1980



Following his four years of service during World War II, A.L. “Chunk” Bender (1916-1980) returned to his home of Chattanooga, TN and assumed the position of superintendent of city parks. He remained in this position until 1955, when he ran for county commission. His bid for office failed, but in 1958, County Judge Wilkes Thrasher appointed him county manager. In 1962, Bender was appointed to finish the term of the late Public Works Commissioner Pat Wilcox. In 1963, he ran successfully for a full term and was re-elected in 1967. Due to his large number of votes form the other commissioners, Bender was appointed vice-mayor under Mayor Ralph Kelley. Kelley resigned in 1968 and passed the office of Mayor to Bender, effective January 1, 1969. Mayor Bender remained in office until 1971, when he resigned due to ailing health.