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Obituaries are so much more than a public notice that a friend or loved one has passed away.

James A. Bonham

11/6/1940 - 7/30/2020

PEKIN ~ James Alan Bonham, 79, of Pekin, passed away at 4:24 a.m. Thursday, July 30, 2020 at his home.

Born on November 6, 1940 in Pekin, he was the only child of Clifford R. and Ruth Elizabeth (Tompkins) Bonham. He married Carol Ann Bledsoe on August 28, 1960 in Pekin. She died July 5, 2014 at Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He also was preceded in death by one daughter, Jennifer Ann Bonham.

Surviving are one daughter, Jill Marie (Peter Hru) Costa of South Bend, Indiana; two sons, Daniel Scott (Sherri) Bonham of Devils Lake, North Dakota and Michael James (Stephanie) Bonham of Arvada, Colorado; five grandchildren, Garrett (Jade) Bonham, Kyle Bonham, Ethan Bonham, Clare Bonham and Tyler Bonham.

Jim graduated from Pekin Community High School in 1958. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University. From there he went on to the University of Illinois where he received a PhD. in Organic Chemistry.

Upon graduation from the University of Illinois, he joined 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota in Organic Research. He was the inventor of 24 patents. Upon retirement, he consulted for Southern Lithograph for 20 years.

Jim loved people and talked to all whether he knew them or not. Jim also had a passion for dogs – namely, black lab retrievers. One of his field champions competed and won the World Retrievers Championship held in California.

In later years, he took up decoy and song bird carvings. He is included in the book “Decoy Carvers of Minnesota” and has outstanding pieces.

Jim’s great love was fishing. He and his family spent much time at his cabin in Vergas, Minnesota. He also loved to trout fish at the Big Horn River in Montana each year.

Jim moved back to Pekin in 2018. He and his classmate, Beverly Marshall Bernier had much fun together including travels to Florida each winter to visit family and friends. Jim knew everyone.

A celebration of life gathering will be held at a later date. Cremation has been accorded by Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin. Memorial contributions may be to a charity of the donor’s choice.

The family wishes to give special thanks to Jerry Pemberton for his friendship and continuing care.

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