Leo E. Bonjour, age 97, of Stillwater, Oklahoma and formerly of Olin, Iowa, died April 30, 2019 at Golden Oaks Village in Stillwater from congestive heart failure and kidney failure. He had lived in the Olin area all of his life until his wife Margaret died in December 2016, upon which time he moved to Stillwater to live with his son, and since April 13 at Golden Oaks Village. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 15 at the Lahey and Dawson Funeral Home in Olin with Pastor Barb Krueger officiating. Interment was at Antioch Cemetery in rural Anamosa.
Leo Edmond Bonjour was born on May 8, 1921 on the E.R. Easterly Farm southwest of Olin, Iowa, the third child of Swiss immigrants George and Ida (Grandjean) Bonjour. He grew up on rented farms in the Olin area and graduated from Olin High School in 1939 where he was active in band and FFA. Leo also participated in 4-H where he was a charter member of the Olin 4-H Club in 1931. He showed the grand champion market lamb for 4-H at the Jones County Fair in 1935 and the champion Shropshire ewe in 1937.
During the summer of 1939, he worked for the Rural Electric Cooperative numbering poles and drawing maps of pole locations. He was a hired man for Howard Mackey during the cropping season of 1940 and for James Cousins from the fall of 1940 to the spring of 1948. In April 1945, he was part of a pre-induction call for World War II but the war ended before he was called to service. In March 1948, he took a short course from the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) at Iowa State University and began his position as the Supervisor of the Jones County DHIA No. 1 beginning April 1, 1948 through the spring of 1952. On October 6, 1950, he won the Records and Reports Award, which was a gold watch, from the state DHIA during the Waterloo Dairy Cattle Congress. He served as the Chairman of the Jones County Dairy Quality Improvement Board in 1958.
In 1952, Leo and his brother Maurice bought 100 acres of farmland and 5 acres of woods near Newport Mills, northwest of Olin. The Bonjour Brothers eventually bought another 233 acres from neighbors. Their farming operation included hogs and a cow/calf herd, and crops included corn, oats, and alfalfa.
Leo and Margaret Oltmann were married on August 8, 1959 at the Evangelical United Brethren Church (later known as St. Paul’s United Methodist Church) in Olin by Rev. Lloyd Dutro. He was Treasurer of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for many years, served on the Church Board for 40 years, mostly as a trustee, was the chair of the Board for six years, and served on many other church committees. He also served as a Director of the Amber Mutual Creamery, served on the Jones County Farm Bureau Extension Program Committee, was appointed by Gov. Leo Hoegh as County Chairman of June Dairy Month in 1955, served on the Jones County Fair Board, served on the Antioch Cemetery Board, and was a member of the Wapsi Manor Board. He served as a 4-H leader for the Jackson Beavers from 1972-1979. Leo and Margaret retired from farming in 1983 but remained on the farm until moving into Olin in 1999. During his farming days, he collected single-cylinder gasoline engines and wood-molding planes. After retirement, he spent much of his time building wooden scale model farm implements, heavy-machine equipment, semis, and other vehicles. He also repaired many pieces of furniture for people in the area. In 2011, at the age of 90, he received an award as the Outstanding Volunteer in Jones County from the Heritage Area Agency on Aging for his many hours of volunteer service in the Olin community. Margaret and Leo joined the Morley First United Methodist Church in June 2012. They were honored as the Grand Marshalls in the Olin Jamboree parade in June 2015.
He is survived by his son Edmond (and Rose) Bonjour of Stillwater, Oklahoma and their children Sophia of Tempe, Arizona, and Ean and his wife Bailey of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and his daughter Renee (and Mike) Bennett and their children Collin, Blake, and Brent of Little Rock, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Margaret in 2016, his brother Maurice in 2005, and his sister Georgette in infancy in 1914.
Memorials may be given to the Morley First United Methodist Church, 307 East First Street, Mechanicsville, IA 52306.
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