Robert Eugene Bonham, (9/20/1925 - 7/28/2017)
Robert “Bob” Bonham 91, passed into his Savior’s more immediate presence on Friday evening, July 8th in Kalispell, MT, at age 91. He was the husband of Catherine Keathley and father of three children: Howard Russell (Rusty), Catherine Ann (Cathy), and Thomas Richard (Tom), and was "Grandpa Bob" to 9 grandchildren and 8 (soon to be 10) great-grandchildren.
Bob was born in Warren, Indiana on September 20, 1925, to Howard and Gladys Bonham, a local farm couple. He grew up on the farm with his older sister Martha, and attended Warren High School. In 1943 he enlisted in the Navy, at age 17. He was accepted into the V-12 Fighter Air Corp and trained at various locations during the war. As part of his training, he studied journalism at Colgate, developing skills that he would later use in his life. With the end of World War II, Bob moved to Detroit to work as an operations manager with the Chicago & Southern Airlines. While there, Bob met the lovely Catherine Louise Keathley, a young ticket agent and stewardess, who later became his wife. They were married in 1951 and enjoyed 60 years together, until Catherine’s passing in 2012.
Bob and Catherine left Detroit in the early 1950’s, relocating to Hernando, MS, where Bob worked with a local paper and son Rusty was born. They later moved to Hamilton, AL, where he was the owner of a small-town newspaper. During this time they welcomed Cathy into the family. Bob continued his journalism /printing career in Whitehaven, TN and then in Galveston, TX.
The early 1960’s brought the family to Pennsylvania, where Bob was employed by the Bucks County Courier-Times. Here their last child Tom was born, and the family remained there until 1989. In the late 1980’s Bob changed careers to become a successful realtor.
In 1989, having suffered a massive coronary, he went into retirement, moving with Catherine to Kalispell, MT, to be near their daughter. Here they hosted many guests from around the country, and Bob took great delight in sharing the beauty of the valley and surrounding areas and then typing out descriptive letters about these adventures (mostly citing the routes and restaurants).
People who knew Bob in recent years all would comment on his sharp mind. He treasured a wealth of information that he readily recalled in detail. He was a student of history: especially the railroad, the Wild West, Native Americans, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. He knew more about Montana history than most Montana folks. He inspired others with a simple and abiding faith and often returned us to the question, "What is the purpose of the Church?" He would gladly talk for hours, if you would porch-sit with him and Bo. He loved getting neck rubs (he would pay cash to grandkids), humor (Tim Conway), music (Tijuana Brass), eating out (Perkins), coffee (Rosauers), animals (Bo, his faithful companion), art (Charlie Russell), the old hymns, photography, driving, and "a place for everything, and everything in it's place."
Bob will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him: his family, neighbors, coffee buddies, caregivers, and church friends.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Martha Bonham Stroud, his daughter Cathy Brenneman, and his grand-daughter Erin Brenneman. Bob's cremains will be interred, along with Cathy's and next to wife Catherine's, at the family burial plot near his hometown of Warren, IN. There will be a memorial service held Tuesday August 1, 2017 10am at The Mountain View Mennonite Church in Kalispell. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the Bonham family.