Robert “Bert” Bonar, age 80, of Largo, FL, formerly of Dassel (Big Swan Lake), died Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009, at Woodside Hospice House in Pinellas Park, FL.
He was born July 24, 1929, to Robert and Elizabeth Bonar of Stranorlar, County of Donegal, Ireland.
Bert sailed from Ireland in 1948, and eventually ended up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he met his future wife, Nellie. Bert and Nellie were married in 1951 in Winnipeg. They eventually made the decision to move to the US, arriving in Minneapolis in 1957.
Bert and Nellie raised two daughters while living in Bloomington, MN.
Bert was a salesman for Minnegasco (now CenterPoint Energy) for 24 years. His goal was to retire at age 50, and he was able to accomplish that goal. Bert and Nellie were blessed to enjoy 12 years of retirement before Nellie’s passing in 1992.
In 1968, Bert and Nellie purchased a lot on Big Swan Lake. Bert spent weekends during the summer months building a home on the lake, north of Dassel. The challenge intrigued him, and he learned his plumbing, electrical, and construction skills by reading books from the library.
Bert and Nellie spent the summers in Dassel, and the winters in Largo, FL from 1981 to 1992. When Nellie passed away, Bert became a full-time resident of Largo, FL.
Bert was an accomplished golfer, spending many hours on the course in Cokato over the years. He was also a polished dancer, and was able to put that talent to work when he became a dance host for various cruise lines in the mid 1990s. He eventually became a steady employee of the Mississippi Queen steamboat line, spending five weeks on the boat and three weeks off, year-round.
In addition to golfing and dancing, Bert loved to travel and spend time with friends and family. He was definitely a “people person,” and was well loved and respected by all who knew him.
Bert was a member of Anona Methodist Church in Largo, FL.
He is survived by two children, Janell Charrier of Fredonia, AZ, and Renee Sylvers of Dassel; his faithful partner, Patsy Lumley of Largo, FL; three grandchildren, Joseph Serra, Jr. of California, Jillian Serra of Florida, and Tony Sylvers of Dassel; a brother, Bill Bonar of Winnipeg, Manitoba; and numerous nieces and nephews in Ireland, Canada, and the US.
In addition to his wife, Nellie, Bert was preceded in death by his parents; a sister; and a brother.
A memorial service will take place Monday, Jan. 18, 2010, at the Fairway Village Clubhouse in Largo, FL.