Harrell Funeral Home of Austin
4435 Frontier Trail
Austin, TX 78745
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Frank Bonniwell passed away peacefully on 08-28-2022 at his home in Austin, Texas, at the age of 84.
His wife of 26 years, Claudia Sue, was at his side, as always. She was the spark plug that kept him going.
This is tr... Read More
Frank Bonniwell passed away peacefully on 08-28-2022 at his home in Austin, Texas, at the age of 84.
His wife of 26 years, Claudia Sue, was at his side, as always. She was the spark plug that kept him going.
This is truly the story of a good and reverent American, military man and person, who believed in the progress of mankind...but it had to be earned and displayed in daily endeavors for the common good.
Frank was a responsible family man, a professional Regular military officer, a detailed senior draftsman in architectural/civil engineering, and a gifted and talented IRS examiner/technician and work leader, who particularly embraced the game of baseball. He was a meticulous, analytical, thorough, dedicated, loyal, and always professional individual, who was always devoted to honor, duty, country, service, and integrity to his careers, to others, and to his beloved wife, Claudia. He always tried to guide, teach, and support his greater family in any endeavor.
He was born in Brooklyn, NY, in November 1937, the only child of Frank E and Lillian E Little Bonniwell. His Father grew up on Bay Shore, Long Island, where he and Brother Charles and also, Brothers Harry and Richard, raced soap-box derby cars against Colonel Charles Lindbergh, of Spirit-of-St. Louis fame, and Charles L Lawrance, of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, who designed/built
He attended West University Elementary, John J Pershing Junior High (1950-1953), and Mirabeau B Lamar High School (1953-1956), the premier high school in Houston the planes' engine. Frank moved on to the University of Houston (UH) in 1956, where he earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in August of 1961
His career included duties and responsibilities beginning with Maintenance Analysis Records and Reports Officer at the 5th Tactical Control Group, Clark Air Base, Philippines, Pacific Air Force (PACAF), in January 1963. He performed two short tours in Vietnam (RVN) at Tan Son Nhut AB (north of Saigon), Pleiku, Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Bon Me Thout, and in Thailand at Don Moung (north of Bangkok), Ubon, Udorn, and Nakhon Phanom, in late 1963 and in 1964. finding and reducing lost (missing) airborne and ground-to-air communication/radar/air traffic control equipment from ten to less than one percent.
While in the Philippines, Frank met Elizabeth (Liz) Betty Fernandez, a Philippine University secretary in Manila in August 1963 on a blind date. They married in a church wedding in April 1964 in Manila. They later divorced in January 1993 after raising four children, daughters Suzanne and Stephanie, and sons Frank and Brian.
In 1967, Frank was awarded an exchange tour with the Navy, as Communications/Traffic Officer, US Naval Communications Station (NCS), Guam, reporting solely to the station commander, Navy Captain Charles E Delaney. In 1976, he graduated from the Line Missileman Minuteman II (now MM III) Launch Officers' school at Vandenberg AFB, California, with a perfect 5.0 qualification rating, becoming the 21st officer to accomplish this feat. He then proceeded to the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron (Deactivated 2008), 341st Strategic Missile Wing (Strategic Air Command (SAC)), Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Frank completed Air Command and Staff College for Officers by correspondence in 1976. Performing 69 tours "in the hole", he advanced from Line Missile Launch Officer, to Assistant Flight Commander, to Flight Commander Senior Crew, all of Quebec (and Sierra) Flights, then to Squadron Operations Officer, and lastly as Wing Scheduling Officer for all 130 2-man missile launch crews, 341st Strategic Missile Wing (Strategic Air Command) at Great Falls, Montana. Transferred to Headquarters, 12th Air Force, Tactical Air Command (TAC), Bergstrom AFB, Texas, in 1980, he became a Command Communications Officer in 12th AF Operations. There he also performed as Assistant Chief of Command and Control of Communications Countermeasures and aided significantly in developing Joint Interoperability of Tactical Command & Control Systems supporting the Joint Test Force and Joint Communications Support Element, US Readiness Command, in four operational field exercises from 1980 to 1983. Framk retired the end of May 1983, having received his third Meritorious Service Medal with Tactical Air Command.
Frank was amongst a lineage, now over 100 greater family members serving in the Air Force, Navy, and Army, from wars in Britain and France, the American Civil War, the 1898 Spanish American War, through WWI, WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars, plus a British Navy Commodore (great grand uncle), who was serving in the British Navy in 1865. The record of other family members serving in the military goes back to at least the year 1000 in England, France, Norway, and beyond, . Frank is among the latest number of other decendants serving in wars, at least back to the year 1000.
He turned to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 1987, progressing from an entry level processing tax examiner for the Form 1040-Series to the position of Work Leader of the Form 1040X (overseeing 20-25 personnel), of the Amended Return Section in 1994, at the IRS Austin Service Center, Austin, TX.
In March 1996, Frank married Claudia Sue Eichblatt Blackwell McDonald.
Survivors are his wife, Claudia Sue; two daughters Suzanne and Stephanie of Austin; his son Frank Felipe and wife Maryse of San Diego, CA; and son Brian of Austin; step-daughter Cathy and husband Jessie Molina of Austin, TX; step-son Mike and wife Millie Blackwell of St Augustin, FL; and nine beloved grandchildren, John and Patrick Molina, Leilanie and Marie Blackwell, Jordan Paige Smith, Natalie and Caleb Camarillo, and Mia and Madeleine Bonniwell, and one great grandson David Molina.
Frank will be interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, in San Antonio, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, Frank requested that any donations in his memory be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion Dept of Texas, Disabled American Veterans, and Paralyzed American Veterans. They are the lifeblood of our country's military history. Goodbye and God speed to all of ye who defend the rights of all free people wherever and whoever they may be.
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