Joan Steel Bonwell

Published 8:10 pm Monday, April 23, 2012

April 17, 2012

Joan Steel Bonwell, 74, of Charleston, W.Va., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2012. She was a native of Suffolk, Va., and was predeceased by her parents Dr. and Mrs. Charles W. Steel.

Joan Steel Bonwell

Joan graduated from Suffolk High School and attended Averett and Mary Washington College in Virginia. The first four years of her married life to her husband of 53 years, Lt. Robert A. Bonwell, were spent in Texas. The balance of her life was spent in beautiful Charleston, W.Va., and summers were spent in Nags Head, N.C., and Virginia Beach, Va. She was a member of Oakwood Baptist Church in Charleston.


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She is survived by her loving husband, Robert A. Bonwell; son, Robert A. Bonwell Jr. and wife, Buffy, all of Charleston, W.Va.; daughter, Sandi Lindsley and husband, Robbie, of Virginia Beach; sisters, Shirley Howell and husband Don, Charlotte Bigony and husband Mike, all of Suffolk; brother-in-law, Raymond E. Bonwell Jr. and wife, Lois, of Toms River, N.J.; sisters-in-law, Janey Swain and husband, Mike, of Huron, Ohio, and Tanis Rososinski and husband, Stan, of McMurray, Pa.; also Joan’s beloved grandchildren Brooke, Blaire, Zoey and Flechyr; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Joan was an avid bridge player, archer and skier at different times of her life. She was a very generous person who took great delight in making large and small gifts to people in need. She made anonymous gifts to any military or officers of the law that were in uniform and eating in the same restaurant and would love to watch their expression when the recipients looked around to try to figure who made the gift.

Joan loved to watch her daughter compete in many ice skating competitions and to watch her grandchildren compete in ballet and tap competitions. In the last 15 years of her life, Joan had a series of craniotomies that kept her going back and forth to UVA for operations and gamma knife treatments as well as continual checkups. During this time, Joan kept a positive mental attitude and did not let this keep her from making trips all over the world. Joan especially treasured the last trip she made with her husband and two sisters to Israel.

A longtime subscriber to the Charleston Symphony, Joan looked forward to all the concerts. She loved musicals, and her favorite was “Phantom of the Opera.” She saw the “Phantom” in London, New York and San Francisco.

She loved reading the heavily underlined passages in her Dad’s many Bibles.

A funeral service will be conducted Friday, April 27, 2012, at 2 p.m. in West End Baptist Church by the Rev. Lindsay Poteat with burial in Holly Lawn Cemetery. Joan was married in this church in 1958. The family will receive friends in the R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home & Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk, VA on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Condolences may be registered at