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Bonham, Hoyt 1900-1984


Posted By: Marilyn Holmes (email)
Date: 10/25/2009 at 12:52:44

Contributed by and posted for Gordon Thompson


William Hoyt Bonham, 83, a long time Montezuma attorney, abstracter and church leader, was buried in the Masonic-IOOF Cemetery Friday afternoon, Oct. 12, following services at the United Methodist Church.

The Rev. John Darlington officiated at the rites which included music by organist Alice Underwood and hymns by the church choir and congregation. An Order of Eastern Star service was conducted by officers of Lafayette Chapter 232 and a Masonic service was presented by Carl Draegert of What Cheer and members of Lafayette Lodge 52. Casket bearers were Bill Bolen, Robert Fulton, Gordon Alexander, Roy Fleming, Robert Simpson and Michael Mahaffey. Honorary bearers were Gene Story, E.M. Ammann, Wavern Briggs, John Kercheval, David Kercheval, Vincent Johnson, Frank Bryan, Tom Erickson, Roger Sunleaf, Richard Arendt, Forrest McLain, Bobby Dickerson and Richard Gregory.

Mr. Bonham died Monday, Oct. 8, at University Hospitals, Iowa City.

He was the son of William Ray and Caroline Roessler Bonham and was born Oct. 12, 1900, in Johnson County where he attended school. As a young man he moved to Mason City where he worked for an abstract firm and also served as a company clerk in the Iowa National Guard. He moved to Montezuma Jan. 19, 1929, and was married to Alma F. Maiden at the Presbyterian Manse here on Feb. 8, 1930. He studied law here under Judge Frank Bechly. After passing the state bar examination in October 1937 he began a nearly 50-year career as a practicing attorney, first as a partner in Bechly, McNeil and Bonham and later as Bonham Law Office. He and his wife also owned and operated Bechly and Company, an abstract business. Mr. Bonham was president of the Montezuma Development Corporation, the non-profit group which operates Sunnyview Square apartment complex for retired persons, and he was a member of the public library board of trustees for over 40 years. He served ten years as secretary of the Montezuma Board of Education. He was a member of county and state bar associations, Iowa State Title Association, county and state historical associations and he was chairman of Iowa Associated Groups of Elderly.

Mr. Bonham had served in nearly all positions at the United Methodist Church. He was a certified Methodist lay speaker, member of Methodist Men and One Thousand Club. He was serving as the church's conference lay leader and he had been a member of the choir for nearly 50 years.

Mr. Bonham was a charter member of Harding Masonic Lodge at Mason City. He was a 50-plus year member of Lafayette Lodge and Lafayette Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, at Montezuma. He was serving as Worthy Patron of Lafayette Chapter, an office he had held for several years. He was a member of Royal Arch Palestine Chapter 143 RAM, Oriental Commandry 22 K.T., Nazareth White Shrine 37 at Newton, Des Moines Scottish Rite, Independent Order of Oddfellows, R.L. Tilton Lodge No. 1, Vashi Rebekah Lodge No. 113 and National Grange 2189.

Survivors include his wife, Alma; their children, Robert C. Day of California and Kathryn A. Lee of West Des Moines; two grandsons, Bradley Lee and his wife, Julie, of Montreal, Canada and Eugene Lee of West Des Moines; two great-grandsons, Steven and Michael Lee; a sister-in-law, Mary Bonham of Las Cruces, N.M.; a brother-in-law and his wife, Raymond and Ruth Maiden of Montezuma; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Maynard Lamont Bonham who died in 1963.

The Watts Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


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