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Gerald "Dorsey" Bonnell


1929 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Gerald "Dorsey" Bonnell Obituary

Gerald "Dorsey" Bonnell went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Oct. 18, 2014. He was born April 26, 1929, in Alamogordo to Kiel and Fay Bonnell.

He was raised in Tularosa and Ruidoso and graduated high school from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. He attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces before marrying the love of his life, Suzie Bonnell, on June 12, 1949. They were married at the Community United Methodist Church in Ruidoso where they began an adventure together that would span 65 years.

Dorsey worked for his dad at Bonnell Hardware in Ruidoso and then for his grandfather, R.D. Champion at Otero County State Bank, where he stayed for 17 years. During this time he was actively involved with Alamogordo Noon Lions Club and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. He held many offices in both organizations, including that of president. In 1968 he sold his interest in the bank to family members to pursue his lifelong dream of being an artist.

He painted ten calendars for Bank Securities, Inc., which was the holding company for Security Bank and Trust, and many other banks throughout the state. Each painting included a well-researched story and usually a friend or family member too. He was asked to paint an archway mural at the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. He was later commissioned by the state of New Mexico to research the history and paint four large murals at Oliver Lee State Park, 10 miles south of Alamogordo in Dog Canyon.
He held various shows throughout the state and many people, both locally and nationwide, cherish his artwork that graces their homes. Dorsey spent many an hour creating pen-and-ink drawings that were used for cover pages and tail pieces for the Arizona West periodicals.
His art was not his only creative outlet. He was a passionate, self-taught musician who played the organ, piano, guitar and accordion. He loved playing in the accordion band at Grace United Methodist Church. He shared his love of music, his artistic talent, his passion for life and his enjoyment in the game of golf with all of his grandchildren, teaching many of them to play before they began school.
He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church for 60 years. He taught Bethel Bible Series and was an adult Sunday school teacher for over 20 years. He served as chairperson of numerous church committees and was secretary to the El Paso District Board of Ordained Ministry. As a knowledgeable banker he was an outstanding asset to the church's endowment committee and served there for many years.

Dorsey leaves an incredible legacy of love and playfulness for his children and grandchildren. Many nights he played kick the can with his children on his beloved mountain top in the wee hours. He was always jumping out of a closet or crouched behind a garbage can growling to get a reaction, and a water fight was constantly in the making. His love for play and his love for life – and his love a warm cookie just out of the oven -- will be passed down for generations to come. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

Dorsey was preceded in death by his parents Kiel Bonnell and Fay Champion Bonnell and by his infant grandson Everett Dorsey Bonnell.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Suzie Bonnell; son Gerald and Donna Bonnell; three daughters Suzanne and Roger Henry, Tena and Scott Spitsberg, and Penny and Hadley Antes; son Tom and Carol Rutledge. He is also survived by special nieces who were like daughters to him, Cindy and Ken Rogers, Tammy and Sam Holloman, and Barbie and David Lagen. He is also survived by grandchildren Brent and Jeri Bonnell, Brooke and Bobby Freshcorn, Danelle and Jason Bonnell, Wendy Stroble, Debbie and Scott McDoniel, Roger Henry Jr., Timothy and Rachel Spitsberg, Mindy and Jeb Archey, Matthew and Lindsey Spitsberg, D.J. Downs, Katie Downs, Marco and Amy Nardi, Marina Antes, Bryan and Maria Rutledge, Sean and Julie Rutledge, and Corrie and Mark Gilley, along with 21 great- grandchildren, two brothers, Ted and Glenda Bonnell, Kenneth and Judy Bonnell and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friend, Rev. Don and Ruby Forsman.

Services will be held at Grace United Methodist Church on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, at 10 a.m. with Rev. Dustin Wilhite, Rev. Mary Taken and Rev. Dr. Steve McElroy officiating. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall. Pallbearers will be Dorsey's grandsons. Honorary pallbearers will be his granddaughters. Private interment will take place in Ruidoso.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Project Lifesaver at the Otero County Sheriff's Department, 3208 N. White Sands Blvd., Alamogordo, NM 88310, or the Kiel Bonnell Scholarship Fund at Grace United Methodist Church.
Friends may call from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, at Hamilton O'Dell Funeral Home.

The Bonnell family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the funeral services. To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Oct. 21 to Nov. 20, 2014
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