Brigitte “Bitti” Bendt, age 81, of Edina died Sunday, May 31, 2020, at New Perspectives in Waconia, MN. A private family memorial service will be held at Johnson Funeral Home chapel in Waconia with Rev. Mark Shockey officiating. Interment will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Green Isle. Brigitte was born on February 11, 1939, in Berlin-Spandau, Germany, the daughter of Erwin and Herta Steckel. She was baptized and confirmed in her faith in the Melanchthon Church in Spandau. In 1960, Brigitte followed her sister Dorothea to the United States. She lived and worked as a mechanical drafter for Honeywell in Minneapolis. Brigitte followed her dream of traveling and worked as a stewardess for Western Airlines out of Denver and later Pan American Airlines (PAA) out of Los Angeles and San Francisco. After meeting Dr. Richard Bendt, who would later become her husband, Brigitte moved to New York. She was united in marriage with Richard in 1969 in Charleston, SC. The couple settled in Boston, MA and she continued to fly for PAA out of New York. When commuting and extended travel days became too much, she retired from being a stewardess. By that time, Brigitte had truly seen the whole world except for the North and South Poles. After the death of her husband Richard, Brigitte worked a few years again as a mechanical drafter. She then acquired a license to sell real estate. She found she enjoyed dealing with people more than sitting in an office all day. In 1982, Brigitte decided to move back to Minnesota to be closer to her sister and family. She acquired her Minnesota real estate license and worked successfully in the business until her retirement in 2007. Brigitte was an avid traveler. Over the years she and her sister took many trips back to Germany and other destinations. She was an active member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Edina. In 2017, Brigitte suffered multiple strokes which impacted her quality of life very significantly. She became a resident at New Perspectives in Waconia to be closer to her sister Dorothea, who was a frequent visitor. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Brigitte declined rapidly, not being able to deal with and understand the forced separation and isolation from family and friends. She went home to Eternity on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020. Brigitte will be greatly missed by her family and friends from throughout the world. Brigitte was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Richard Bendt; parents Erwin and Herta Steckel; brother Peter Steckel; and brothers-in-law William Harjes Jr. and Fritz Kammer-Steckel. Brigitte is survived by her loving family: sisters Dorothea “Dorli” Harjes of Norwood Young America, MN and Inge-Lore Steckel of Kassel, Germany; brother-in-law Robert Westermann; nieces and nephews Denise (Gene) Alms, Martina (James) Knowles, Thomas (Cheryl) Harjes, and Dagmar Hesse; and many great nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her husband Richard’s siblings: John (Rosa) Bendt and family, Paul (Annie Laurie) Bendt and family, and Elizabeth Godfrey and her daughter Gale Bullock. She is also survived by many other relatives and dear friends. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory.
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