Patricia Schoonmaker Bonsal, “Patsy” to all who knew her, died at the age of 74 on Monday, August 22, 2011 in her home in Pinehurst, NC, following a long illness. Patsy was born on October 19, 1936 in Altoona, PA to Alma Duer and Paul Gentelini Schoonmaker, Jr. Patsy and her two siblings, Barbara and Paul, grew up in Tyrone, PA. A graduate of Penn State University, Patsy married William R. (“Rocky”) Bonsal,III on October 17, 1959. Moving to Southern Pines, NC in 1960, Patsy and Rocky soon began their family, raising three children. Patsy held many volunteer roles in the community, all intended to help and improve opportunities for others. Beginning as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Patsy grew into more and more responsible positions in support of girl scouting, including Pines of Carolina Council President, International Commissioner of Girl Scouts-USA, Third Vice President GS-USA, and a member and Vice President of the Olave Baden-Powell Society for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, based in Great Britain. She also served as the Chairman of the Board of the Sangam World Centre for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in Pune, India for six years.
In 1987, Patsy was asked to help start an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity inMoore County, NC. Building on the success she began in her community, she became a board member for Habitat for Humanity International for eight years, travelling to Poland and the Philippines, among others. Patsy loved to travel and especially enjoyed a trip around the world with her beloved husband, Rocky. The couple were long-time members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church inSouthern Pines. Patsy served on the Board of Trustees of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC for fourteen years. She was a talented fundraiser and an expert in organizational governance. Other organizations Patsy has been involved with or helped to start are: Classical Concerts International, Friends of Penick, the Southern Pines Garden Club, and The O’Neal School. Patsy was a co-owner of a popular ladies’ fashions boutique, Papillon, in Pinehurst for twenty years. Awards include the St. George Award of the Episcopal Church in 1995, Pines of Carolina Girl Scout Council’s Woman of Today and Tomorrow in 1995, “Service Above Self” Award from Rotary International in 1996, Kiwanis Builder’s Cup in 2000, the Americus Chair from Habitat for Humanity of Moore County in 2003, and Moore County Community Foundation Woman of the Year in 2006. Patsy had a flair for entertaining and decorating. She had many dear friends in the Sandhills who have enjoyedand loved her for many years. Her family wishes to thank all who gave of their time and affection especially in the final years of Patsy’s life.
Pasty is survived by her beloved sister, Barbara Shelley of The Villages, FL. She is survived by her three loving children and their spouses: William R. (”Rocky”) Bonsal and Robert O’Bara of Niskayuna, NY; Andrew (“Sandy”) S. and Patricia Bonsal of North Augusta, SC; and Katharine (“Kate”) B. and Todd Tracy of Southern Pines. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Jonathan, Zane, Ryan, Nora, Natalie, and Crystal, and three great-grandchildren, Moya, Sophie and Vin, and several nieces and nephews. Patsy is survived by her dear friend and companion, Rosa Kelly of Southern Pines.
Patsy is predeceased by her parents, her beloved husband, and her brother, Paul G. Schoonmaker, III.
A Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Life of Patricia S. Bonsal will be held on Saturday, August 27, 2011, 11:00 a.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 340 S. Ridge St., Southern Pines, NC. Celebrating will be The Rev. Meaghan Kelly. The Rev. Sam Walker will give the homily.
Services are being provided by Powell Funeral Home.
A reception will follow the service at the Country Club of North Carolina, 1600 Morganton Rd., Pinehurst, NC.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills, 2268 NC 5 Highway, Aberdeen, NC 28315, or to Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines, 6901 Pinecrest Rd., Raleigh, NC 27613.
The family wishes to thank all the caregivers who put their hearts into working with Patsy, especially Karen, Laurel, and Brenda.
A private interment service will be held at a future date for family only. Patsy’s family hopes and prays that her memory will continue to inspire themselves and others in her community “to be always mindful of the needs of others.”