Ronald Bontemps
1926 - 2017
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center
140 S. Detroit Ave
Morton, IL
Ronald Bontemps
MORTON – Ronald Y. Bontemps, 90, of Morton, passed away Saturday, May 13, 2017, at Rosewood Care Center in Peoria.
He was born August 11, 1926, in Taylorville, Ill., to Carl and Katherine (McBride) Bontemps. He married Norma Smith on May 2, 1953 in Beloit, Wis. She preceded him in death on May 10, 2009. He was also preceded in death by one brother, Carl.
Surviving are two sons, Gary (Lisa) Bontemps of Tremont and Kevin (Stephanie) Bontemps of Swansea, Ill.; two daughters, Linda Bontemps of Creve Coeur and Kathy Bontemps of Peoria; eight grandchildren, Jason, Jared (Shelbie), Jeremiah (Krista), Eli, Alyssa, Kallen, Tyler and Lauren; and four great-grandchildren, Shelby, Gracie, Jackson and Koralyn.
Ron was a WWII Army Veteran having served from 1944 to 1946.
Ron retired in 1989, after working for 38 years in personnel employee relations for Caterpillar Inc.
He was a member of Presbyterian Church in Peoria, where he served as a Deacon and Vacation Bible School teacher. Ron was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was a Gold medalist on the 1952 Olympic Basketball team in Helsinki, Finland. He served as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 18, 2017, at Northwoods Church, 10700 N. Allen Rd. in Peoria, with Rev. Cal Rychener officiating. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton, and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the church. Burial will be at Roberts Cemetery in Morton.
Memorials may be made to Grace Presbyterian Church, 3100 N. Knoxville Ave., Peoria, IL 61603 or World Vision, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716.
The Bontemps family would like to thank Dad's caregivers, Debbie, Corrie, Ann and Kara.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Peoria Journal Star from May 13 to May 15, 2017.
5:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center
140 S. Detroit Ave, Morton, IL
10:00a.m. - 10:45a.m.
Northwoods Church
10700 N. Allen Rd., Peoria, IL
Funeral service
Northwoods Church
10700 N. Allen Rd., Peoria, IL
Funeral services provided by:
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center
Sponsored by Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center.
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9 Entries
My father, Charles C. Powers served with Mr. Bontemps in WWII. I have pictures of them in the Philippines. Dad passed away in May of 2015. I grew up hearing stories about them during their time in the service. I am sorry for your loss.
Jay C Powers
[email protected]
August 27, 2017
Sweet Mr. B! He was a great neighbor to have over the years. Our favorite quote from him was "I don't know I've never been this old before" when asked how he was. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
The Elberts
May 18, 2017
Ron was my hero. I was in high school when I met Ron after he was a gold medal winner in the Olympics. He actually said hi to me and it blew me away. Later on we became Christians and he was asked to give his testimony of how that happened. As our friendship grew, since I signed as a pitcher in tha Baltimore Oriole's Organization we were asked to team up and go around giving our testimonies in different churches. That's when we really drew close to each other in the Lord. What an honor for me to stand along side my hero as we shared what Jesus meant to us. He was a super star and I just loved being around this wonder, humble brother in Christ, my buddy, Ron Bontemps.
Thanks Ron!!!
Jon Burnham
Jon Burnham
May 17, 2017
While working at Beloit College, I had the honor of coming to his house to interview him about his Olympic days. One of the nicest men, and also one of the humblest, I have met. He could have bragged on l day; he earned that right. Yet, the talk was all about how well the people in his company were doing. Class act.
Paul Erickson
May 15, 2017
I remember his energy, his laughter, his kindness and gracious manners and most of all his love for his family and community. Our deepest sympathies and love to his family.
Christine Smith
May 14, 2017
Uncle Ron- you will be deeply missed! I have so many childhood memories of you. I remember I was fearful riding in the back seat of the station wagon when you drove. It was the first time I saw someone get up to 70 mph! I remember when you would take us down the big slide in the Dells- you always challenged me to put my arms up! So many Woodlake memories as well. Kathy and I loved playing waitress on the top of the boathouse and we would water ski for hours. I always have bragged about your gold medal but also the you were still playing tennis in your 80's!! You were a great Uncle and you will be in our hearts forever.
Sara Schierl
May 14, 2017
Ron was an amazing man. So kind and thoughtful. Great husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Very humble and funny. I'll never forget him always calling me sis. Our deepest sympathies to the Bontemps family. Brenda & Richard Martin
Brenda Martin
May 13, 2017
He taught me to water-ski, gave us kids the highest under-ducks, and seemed to take the biggest pleasure in life when he was side by side with Norma Jean or any of his family members. He was a loving, humble man, as kind as they come. An Olympic gold medalist has passed on, but the true gold he left behind was the love in the hearts of everyone lucky enough to know him. Thinking of you all, Bontemps family
Laurie Neuwirth
May 13, 2017
Sending condolences and prayers to the entire Bontemps Family. One of nicest Gentleman I've ever met. Always had something nice and motivational to say. He always spoke to everybody. RIP ! Mr.Bontemps.
Daniel Kath
May 13, 2017
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