|Birth: ||Jul. 24, 1923|
Cerro Gordo County
|Death: ||Apr. 4, 2001|
Every bit the Leo, Shirley Jean Pixley arrived in this world in Mason City, Iowa, on July 24, 1923. Her mother became ill, and the family moved to Southern California to help improve her health. Unfortunately, Mildred passed away a few months before Shirley's 7th birthday, and Shirley became the "lady of the house", taking care of her father and her two younger siblings. The Pixleys moved back to Iowa shortly afterwards. In 1932, her father Bernard suddenly eloped with "the widow lady down the street", Doris Buchanan, and the children once again had a mother. A fourth child came to bless the household, and the family was complete. Shirley always referred to Doris as her mother, and they were very close.
In 1936 the Pixleys moved back to Southern California, this time permanently. They settled in Alhambra, and Shirley graduated high school there in 1941. In May 1943 she met a handsome Air Force navigator, Carl Bonham Jr., and in a whirlwind romance they married only 6 short weeks later, on June 26, 1943. When later teased by her grandchildren about her brief courtship she would simply reply "there was a war going on", though everyone knows it really was true love at first sight. Carl always called Shirley "his green-eyed girl", and they signed every letter to each other "I'll see you in our dreams". Carl was active in the Air Force, and they didn't live together for an entire year until after their 10th anniversary.
The Bonhams moved around a lot during the 1940s and 1950s, including places like Germany, Illinois, Hawaii, and Texas, but always called California home. Five children came to bless the union over these years, and after Carl's retirement from the Air Force in 1963 they settled permanently in San Jose, California. Carl went on to work for Lockheed-Martin until his final retirement in 1980, at which time they moved to Palestine, Texas.
Carl died shortly after their move, in December 1981. Shirley, being the strong woman she was, didn't let widowhood get her down. She became very active in community and church groups, took some college courses, spent time with her 8 grandchildren, and delved deep into her great passion, genealogy.
In 2000 Shirley was diagnosed with lung cancer, and after a short but painful battle, she passed away on April 4, 2001, in Tyler, Texas. She was very happy to take the next step of her soul's journey, and to finally be reunited with Carl.
Bernard Harry Pixley (1896 - 1980)
Mildred Helen Buck Pixley (1903 - 1930)
Carlton Lester Bonham (1923 - 1981)
Carlene Virginia Bonham (1944 - 2007)*
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: One of her daughters has half her ashes; one of her sons has the other half.
Created by: Jeannie
Record added: Feb 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34204469
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