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Madeleine Bounous

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Madeleine Bounous Obituary
Madeleine Bounous

Madeleine Bounous, age 92, passed away on June 27. She was residing at The Bridges in Edinburg at the time of her death.

Madeleine was born on October 6, 1920, in the "heart" of the Ozarks, Springfield, Missouri. She was the only daughter of Tennessee born Gordon James and Mable (Putman) James. Madeleine was extremely proud of her rich pioneer heritage, which included her great-grandfather, William F. James of Tennessee, who fought in the Civil War.

Madeleine was raised at "Whitewood", her parents' farm just north of Springfield. She attended rural schools until age 15 at which time she was accepted to Greenwood, a private preparatory high school in Springfield. While at Greenwood, she studied piano under Ms. Dorothy Davies, who trained her for piano competitions and accepted nothing less than blue ribbons from Madeleine, her number one student. Studying music and practicing the piano for hours each day became Madeleine's life throughout her high school and college years at State Teachers' College (now SW Missouri State), where she pursued a degree in Music.

Shortly, before college graduation, Madeleine met Lyle G. Bounous, who was also a student at SMS. Madeleine and Lyle eloped the night before he joined the Army in 1940. They later resided near the Army base in Riverside, California, with their son, Lyman and infant daughter, Colette. At the end of World War II, the Bounous family moved back to Missouri where a third, child, Yvonne, was born. Lyle entered graduate school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but was soon called to serve in the Korean Conflict. While Lyle served his country, Madeleine taught piano lessons back at the family farm near Springfield .

Upon returning to Missouri, Lyle completed his Ph.D and in 1954, was offered a teaching position at Pan American College. The Bounous Family moved to Edinburg, Texas where Dr. Lyle Bounous became a founding father to what is now The University of Texas - Pan American. Madeleine became active in the music community by teaching piano, playing for school programs and civic organizations such as the Edinburg Lion's Club and Edinburg Music Culture Club. In addition, she donated much of her time to playing at local weddings and funerals. For many years, Madeleine participated in the prestigious International Music Festivals under the direction of the renowned Victor Alesandro. Many Valleyites may also remember Madeleine as a frequent guest accompanist locally on the Moulton "Ty" Cobb television show.

Playing her beloved hymns was nearest to Madeleine's heart. For 15 years, she was the pianist for the First Presbyterian Church of Edinburg and later became the pianist at the First Christian Church of Edinburg for almost thirty years. One of the comments she heard the most from those who enjoyed hearing her play was regarding her undeniable passion for "feeling" her music as she played. Her favorite hymns, which she always played from memory with her eyes closed and a smile on her face, were, "Amazing Grace", "In the Garden," "Silent Night," and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." In fact, only days ago, she sat and played these hymns for residents at The Bridges.

Those who knew her could not deny her unwavering loyalty to the Missouri Tigers football and basketball teams. Rarely did she miss watching college football and basketball. Even at the end, she could "hold her own" in a conversation with the most knowledgeable sports enthusiasts. One of her great loves was attending the Valley's Pigskin Jubilees only to praise each Valley band's performance, although in her heart, no band could hold a candle to her favorite, Edinburg 's Fighting Bobcat Band.

Madeleine was preceded in death by husband, Dr. Lyle G. Bounous, daughter, Colette G. (Bounous) Wetli, and brother, W.F. "Bill" James.

Survivors include her children, Lyman (Julie) Bounous of McAllen and Yvonne (Johnny) Kautsch of Alamo; grandchildren: Mark May, Bryan Bounous, Janine Bounous, and Elise Bounous, all of McAllen; Damon Wetli (Angie) and Lance Wetli of Greenville, S.C.; Yvette (Bill) Rossback and Brent Wetli, of San Diego, Calif.; great-grandchildren: Kyra Colette, Amber, Cannon, and Tanner Rossback also of San Diego, Calif.

The family would like to thank Dr. E. Linda Villarreal, her staff and certainly the "family" of administrators and caregivers at The Bridges, all of whom gave us great comfort in knowing our mother was always in the very best and loving care possible.

There will be no local service. Interment will be in Mount Comfort Cemetery in Springfield, Mo.

Arrangements are entrusted to Skinner-Silva Funeral Home of Pharr, Texas.


Published in the News-Leader on June 30, 2013
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