Robert Lee Bono of Sullivan was born on the Epiphany, January 6, 1936, in Hannibal. He was the first son of Robert Sylvester Bono and Ruby Ethel Paris Bono. He passed on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at Mercy Hospital, Washington. He was 83-years-old.
First children to a married couple are exciting, but Robert’s birth was twofold in excitement because he was also the first grandchild in the Bono and Paris families. Because of his place in the family, he garnered a lot of attention. During early years, many in this large, extended family guided him. He learned from that guidance and wisdom to form morals, discipline, respect, a loving kindness, and a quiet, intense love of knowledge.
Within seventeen months, a brother joined him: Lawrence. They were not only very close in age, but close in heart and spirit as well. All of Robert’s stories of childhood memories were prefaced with, “My brother Larry.” It was several years before sister, Phyllis Bono Wolf, and brother, Marshall P. Bono, joined them.
Robert moved to Louisiana, Missouri in second grade. He formed friendships with classmates that he continued to enjoy for nearly eighty years. Growing up in Louisiana on the Mississippi River, he was able to explore and experience adventures, which could be considered too dangerous for young boys by today’s standards. His memories of World War II as a seven-year-old are unique: the rationing, shortages, and the Prisoner-of-War camp on the outskirts of Louisiana. Memories included prisoners making gliders for him and other boys, and learning about the countries they came from.
Robert graduated from Louisiana High School in 1953. He was a top student and he is remembered by classmates as a talented vocalist. He participated in band, all things musical, plus played football. Robert earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Rollain 1958. He then continued graduate studies, math and physics at the University of Washington-Seattle, while beginning a career with The Boeing Company in Seattle, and later with that company in Huntsville, Alabama.
His early career began as a design engineer where he was responsible for mechanical and structural design of ground support equipment and systems engineering on space vehicle projects. He then advanced to research engineer and group-lead for research and development of trajectory analysis and design techniques for the Saturn V Apollo Moon Landing Program. Later, with Northrup Services in Huntsville as Senior Engineer, he was responsible for launch trajectory simulation and performance calculations to support Space Shuttle mission planning.
After the slowing of the early Space program, he chose to turn to another field in engineering, where he worked with Diemakers, Inc., in Monroe City. He became the CADCAM System Manager, supervising the growth and development of the department for die design and NC programming. He relocated to the Sullivan area in 1992 with St. Clair Diecasting Company, St. Clair. He later retired from Wilson Tool and Die in St. Charles. During those years, he chose to remain in the home he loved in Sullivan, golfing with the foursome he treasured. He commuted over 100 miles daily for several years.
Robert was a Registered Professional Engineer in Missouri. He was affiliated with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, and North American Die Casting Association.
In 1980, he met Jacqueline Saunders on a blind date which had been carefully manipulated by his aunts. He and Jackie were married on September 3, 1987 and recently celebrated a 32nd anniversary. In addition to his wife, six children remain to honor his memory, including the following:
Robert Glenn Bono, James Michael Bono, Elizabeth Anne Bono LaRue, Cheryl Suzanne Bono Olson, Angela Rene Saunders-Phelan, and Adrian Ann Saunders, the youngest of his blended family. His memory is also honored by three children-in-law: Terry Bono, Glenn Phelan, and Gary LaRue. He has twelve remarkable grandchildren, and he was blessed to share nearly a year with his first and only great-grandchild. Many saddened, numerous friends and family remain.
Robert was a champion of education on all levels. His two oldest children are schooled and retired military. Other children and nearly all grandchildren are college graduates, and most hold graduate degrees in varying professions. He was very, very proud of them and marked their frequent visits as memorable highlights in his life.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Sullivan, Saturday, November 2, at 11 a.m., officiated by Rev. Paul Telken. A gathering of friends and family will follow. There will a celebration of life and memory in his hometown of Monroe City in early Spring. Robert’s cremains will be interred in St. Stephen Catholic Church Cemetery at that time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the memory of Robert L. Bono to St. Anthony Catholic School, Sullivan, or Holy Rosary Catholic School, Monroe City.
All arrangements are under the direction of Eaton Funeral Home, and Garner Funeral Chapel, Monroe City.