James C. Bonsell Jr., 89, Bellwood, died Tuesday at Epworth Manor, Tyrone.
He was born in Grazierville, son of James C. Sr. and Ada (Bryan) Bonsell. He married Louise E. Smith on Sept. 9, 1944, in Norfolk, Va., and she died Nov. 2, 2002.
Surviving are three children: the Rev. Dr. James C. Bonsell III (Ann) of Sun City West, Ariz., Patricia Kemp of Bellwood and John A. Bonsell (Stephanie) of Woodbridge, Va.; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by three brothers.
James was a graduate of Tyrone High School and was on the 1940-41 football teams. He was a U.S. Army veteran of WWII, serving with the 45th Infantry Division in the African and European Theaters and receiving a Bronze Star.
He had been employed as a Pennsylvania Railroad crane operator from 1946-63, a Blair County Prison corrections officer from 1965-72, a Blair County Prison desk sergeant from 1972 until his retirement in 1986, a Bellwood police officer from 1966-72, a deputy constable for Antis Township from 1966-68, a special deputy sheriff of Blair County from 1968-78 and an ordinance enforcement officer from 1975-77. He served as the mayor of Bellwood from 1982-95 and 2002 to the present.
James was an ordained minister in the Church of Gospel Ministry. He was a member of the Morrisons Cove Republican Club and served on the Bellwood Borough Council from 1972-80. He was chaplain of the Blair County War Veterans Council, a member and chaplain of the Bellwood American Legion Post 424, a member of Tyrone Lodge 494, F&AM, and chaplain and past commander of the American Legion 21st District. He was a life member of VFW Post 4559 and commander from 2000-02 and a member of the Company F, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division Association. He was the leader of the Gospel Band from 1960-95, the Grazierville Group assistant chaplain, a lifetime member of Golden Eagle Monogram Club and a member of Warriors Mark United Methodist Church.
He was always active but loved time with his grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, and 10 until the 11 a.m. funeral service Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at Derman Funeral Home Inc., Tyrone, the Rev. Peggy J. Bonsell officiating. Military honors will be provided by the Tyrone Honor Guard. Interment will be at Blair Memorial Park.
Contributions in James' memory may be made to support.woundedwarriorproject.org.