Jessica Mary Bender

August 26, 1982 ~ October 24, 2020

Saturday, October 24th we lost our amazing sister, daughter, niece, wife, and mother, Jessica Mary Bender. Jessica was taken quickly and suddenly after a tragic accident while riding her horse.

Jessica was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Highland High School, University of Utah and eventually Parson’s School of Design in New York. Although Salt Lake was always home base, Jessica used any excuse and opportunity to travel and explore. She felt most at home in the outdoors and in nature. From a young age, Jessica would often be caught sleeping outside rather than inside in her room, even in the cold winter months. As she got older she expanded her adventurous spirit past Utah’s borders and beyond. Jessica has explored so many remote and faraway places with anyone who dared follow her and sometimes on her own.

For as strong and adventurous as her spirit was, Jessica’s heart and compassion was just as soft and sensitive. With an artist’s eye, Jessica saw the world with unique color. It wasn’t enough for her to see new places, but rather to immerse herself in the culture and appreciate the differences and lessons they had to offer. Jessica was a champion for those in need and could not pass up an opportunity to serve everyone that she met.

Jessica met and married her perfect match Thomas Bender in 2011. Jessica absolutely adored Tom and together they fed off each other’s creativity to build two thriving businesses. When they weren’t working, both Jessica and Tom could be found outside riding bikes, hiking or back-country skiing with their adored dogs. Jessica loved spending time with kids and could always be found down at their level immersing herself in anything that interested them. It is no surprise that Jessica’s greatest joy came when she gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, Wolfe Lee Bender on August 10, 2020. Getting Wolfe here was a journey all of its own, and he brought instant happiness and calm to her heart. Jessica savored every moment she had with Wolfe.

Other than her precious Wolfe and Tom, Jessica left behind her parents, Sidney Franklin and Teri Lyn Baucom; her in-laws Gary and Carol Bender. Also, her siblings Sidney Lincoln Baucom (Liz), Paige Baucom Meek (Nathan), Zachary Hansen Baucom (Kacee); and brother-in-law, Jeff Bender. Jessica will be missed dearly by her nieces and nephews Charlie, Jack, Roger, Hank, Liv, Luisa, Marley, Ozzie and Jonah. Jessica also leaves aunts, uncles, cousins and countless friends struggling to cope with this loss. She is preceded in death by her sister Morgan Baucom.

Let us carry on her legacy. Hike that trail. Jump in that lake. Get on your bike. Walk instead of drive. Truly care for the welfare of others and serve silently - those you know and those you don’t. Let your heart guide you.

In lieu of flowers Jessica’s friends have generously set up a Go-Fund-Me to off-set medical costs and to help secure a future for her dear Wolfe.

Due to COVID, we do not feel like it is safe to gather at this time. It is our hope that by the summer we can all celebrate Jessica's beautiful life together. In the mean time, please follow this link to share your photos and stories of Jessica. Everything will be complied and a book will be created for Wolfe.


We were heartbroken to hear about the loss of your daughter. Please know that we love you and are praying for the Lord's peace and comfort to surround you and your family.

- Kent & Deborah Bowman
Our heartfelt condolences to the family.

- Ivy Rose Arcega
So sorry for your loss.

- Maggie Messervy
Words cannot express the loss the world is feeling with Jessica's sudden death. She was an inspiration to me and gave me courage to do things I would never would have attempted. She was a dear friend to my daughter Emily. Emily called Jess her sister and loved her dearly.Her spirit will live with each of us who she touched forever. Love that girl!

- Nancy A Bender
Although I did not know Jessica I knew Sid and Mary very well for many years, and Sid and Teri Lynn also. Please know how saddened I am to hear of your loss of another daughter. Having lost a son I know the grief. Please know my heart and prayers are with all of you at this time and may the Lord bless you with comfort and His never ending love.

- Shirley Carter Moss. Sister of Dorothy Backman
Love you Jessica. Love you Baucoms. I am so sorry.

- Emlyn Poelman Stutz
Jessica’s obituary is breathtakingly beautiful. I just keep reading it over and over. My daughter, Mia, introduced Jessica to me in Trader Joe’s . she was disarmingly very happy and so beautifully pregnant! As Jessica walked off , We both acknowledged how adorable she pretty and friendly. Mia was thrilled for her pregnancy. Remembering Jessica’s supreme happiness, I felt all the more stricken when Mia called to give me the horrific news. Thank you for your perfect touching obituary. Seeing what an evolved and gorgeous human being she she adored You,Tom , loved her dog , dearly loved and enjoyed family, had such good times in nature and with friends , and no doubt, deeply relished her short time with Wolfe, made me all the more want to know this lovely girl I hope to meet again “at that great day. “ We love your name, Wolfe! You brought your mother and father such joy! All of you will be in Steve’s and my prayers for sometime to come. Your loss is huge . I cannot express fully just how terribly sorry we are,

- Steve and Kelly Harmsen
Dearest Tommy two- tone and family, I am absolutely heart broken for you. I cannot even imagine the huge sadness that you all are experiencing. While I had not yet had the opportunity to meet Jessica, I feel like I know her through this amazing declaration to her. She was truly an amazing woman who was perfect for you, Tommy. And, little Wolfe is gorgeous like you both. My prayers are with you. Good night for now and may God's blessing be with you all at this unbelievable time in your life. Hugs and Kisses to all, Paige and Brian

- Paige Bearce-Beery
I am sorry to hear of Jessica's passing.I am praying for you and your family. We all look forward to seeing our families again. Love to you John Webster(cousin)

- John b webster
My heart aches, although I did not know Jessica I am aware of her legacy and sense the ripples in time that have been left in her wake. Life is eternal and there is a higher power governing this tragedy. Let not your hearts be troubled and take the Lord’s hand as we all are grief stricken he knows our sorrows. Much Love.

- Lance Bullen
I only had the pleasure to spend a couple of weekends with Jessica since my cousin, Tom and she got married. I’m lucky to have had those couple of weekends. I saw an amazing woman and immediately understood why my family loved her so much. Her kindness and knowledge was impressive and I wish I had more of those weekends to know her better. Tom and Jess were absolutely sole mates to the very core. Tommy be strong, you will make it through this. Wolfe will show you bits of Jessica every day as he grows and you will smile. I love you.

- Jill
To the Baucoms and everyone who knew her, The sudden loss of one of our own Yellowstone Ranch Family is a hard hit. It has been many years since we have all been together, but my heart is with all of you during this time. I'm so glad that she had such a beautiful place to foster a lifelong love of the outdoors and such a wonderful family to call her own. I am sending all my love.

- Anna Cunningham
My deepest condolences to you, Sid, Teri, and the Baucom and Bender families. I lost my father early this year, and have also recently become a father myself. Still, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this has been for you. My heart goes out to you and your family.

- Nico Africa
So very sorry for the loss of such a young woman who was so beautiful in so many ways. Her spirit will live on with Tom and Wolfe and all those whose lives she touched. Indeed, she does inspire us to get out of our comfort zones and experience life.

- Linda Bender
My heart has been heavy since I learned of Jessica's passing. It seems so unfair yet we don't know God's plan. My thoughts and prayers are with Sid and his wife as well as the Bender family. With Deepest Sympathy, Gene Bathe Sandy, UT

- Gene Bathe
I'm sorry to hear bout this loss Jessica was a very good friend of mine while attending highland always smiling and sweet . Time flys . RIP Jessica

- Rhyan Bartholomew aka bart
We only had the privilege of working with Jessica for a year, but she left us a lasting gift. Our home in Park City shines because of Jessica's vision and dedicated hard work (even up to the last days of her pregnancy). I will miss our plans to continue our relationship and my opportunity to spend time with one of the coolest people I have ever met. My family and I send our deepest condolences to Tom and Wolfe and her extended family and friends.

- Sarah Everitt
Dear Bishop and Sister Baucom, We haven't met yet but I am in the Parley's SA ward. My heart goes out to you at this time and pray you will find comfort and solace. Laura C.

- Laura Castillo
I just read about Jessica’s story in People. As another equestrian mom, I was moved by her passions and her devotion to life. My sincere condolences to her family. I hope it gives you some measure of comfort that even strangers are moved by the beauty of her life.

- Andrea
We are saddened with the terrible loss of your dear daughter. We remember her well as we were invited by Sid and Mary for a weekend at the ranch. Mary had Jessica and Tom wait on us, and indeed they did! They took such good care of us and we were so impressed with their knowledge of everything, their warmth and love, and their love for each other. It made the trip even more meaningful. As you know, we have experienced a similar tragedy and just want you to know your whole family is in our thoughts and prayers. It is a difficult journey and we sincerely pray you will find peace and joy in the wonderful memories you have tucked so preciously away in your hearts. We love you and send our deepest sympathy and love. Tom & Jane

- Tom & Jane Forsgren
Devastated to hear this news. From high school choir to cubbies, Jess inspired and occasionally consulted on my set designs, she nerded out with me over innovative architectural features, and sometimes sharing a giggle over weird ikea finds. I will hear her voice when I design spaces in the future, asking her angel eyes and heart to guide me. I will miss you always, friend. All my love to Tom & Wolfe, and family.

- Heidi Galke