The Life of William A Bonsall

William A. “Bill” Bonsall, 91, of Morgantown, passed away Saturday, February 21, 2015.

Bill was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 31, 1923, the last of six children to Elsa Grace Abplanalp and Frank Paine Bonsall.

Bill married Jean G. McCurdy on September 14, 1946, and moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, to begin teaching Physical Education and coaching gymnastics at West Virginia University. Bill earned a Master’s Degree from WVU in 1950. Their children are Barbara Ellen who is married to Stuart B. Wood of Burke, Virginia. Dr. Barbara Wood is the Biology Department Chair at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Their two children are Douglas Stuart and Leslie Michelle. Janet Paige is married to Denton D. Humphrey of Warrensburg, Missouri. Dr. Janet Bonsall-Humphrey is a Professor Emerita of Photography at the University of Central Missouri. Their two children are Derek Morgan and Sarah Caitlin. Paul Donald Bonsall is married to Diane Darcy. Paul is a registered architect with ADW Architects in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their three children are Lindsey Elaine, Michael Reid, and Natalie Caryn.

In 1979, Bill and Jean started a postcard company: Paige Creations. They traveled through West Virginia selling photographs with the goal of showing the beauty of West Virginia. Bill has twice been the State Commander of the W.V. Chapter of Former POWs, and he directed its first convention at Jackson’s Mill. Bill was also a multi-decade long member of Rotary International. He is the founder of the Mountain State’s Special Olympics program for handicapped children.

Bill, who was twice Southern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League Coach of the Year, was also accepted into the WVU School of Physical Education Hall of Fame, U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame, West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. Bill was elevated to Professor Emeritus at WVU in 1980.

Bill was a charter resident of the Village at Heritage Point where he enjoyed many activities and a pleasant lifestyle in his later years.

The family would like to express grateful appreciation to special people at the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Science, the federal Veterans Administration, the Barbed Wire Mountaineer Chapter #1 of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, and the residents of the Village at Heritage Point for their support, friendship, and many kindnesses over the years.

Interment of cremains will be held at a later date at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

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