WHEELING, West Virginia – Bonnie Belle Berton Forzano, of East Liverpool, Ohio and the Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling, West Virginia, passed away on Thursday, December 22, 2016 at the nursing home, where she had resided for the past seven years. Prior to moving there, she resided for four years at The Welty Home in Wheeling, an assisted living facility.
Born in Mason City, Iowa, October 27, 1923, (hometown of The Music Man’s Meredith Wilson, a movie that she loved and a fact that she would share with everyone) she was the daughter of the late Robert Berton and Sigfrid “Sally” Anderson Burdick.
She was a “Rosie Riveter” with Consolidated Air Craft Defense in San Diego, California where she worked on the B-24 and P-38 aircrafts and later enlisted in the U.S. Navy (WAVE) and was a veteran of World War II.
It was during this time that she met her future husband, N. Richard Forzano, whom she later married on June 5, 1945, and eventually moved to East Liverpool, Ohio, where they resided until moving to Wheeling in 2005.
Bonnie was an active member of her community and church and through her service to both she helped so many in the area.
A devoted member of St. John Lutheran Church, she was the first woman to serve on their Church Council and the first woman to serve Holy Communion, something she was extremely proud of. She also served as president of the Lutheran Church Woman and was a Sunday school teacher for 40 plus years. Bonnie served as president and later treasurer of the Church Women United and was the recipient of the Citizen of Merit Award from the Tri-State Federation of Women’s Club. She was also a member and secretary of the St. John Lutheran Church Board.
Bonnie helped organize St. John Lutheran Church’s pre-school and developed the curriculum for the program and served on their board for many years. She was also a member of the Christian Women’s Club.
Her community work involved being a library volunteer at Kent State East Liverpool Campus, a board member for the Visiting Nurses Association, a member and officer of the Coterie Club as well as a board member of the Community Social Services.
Probably her most proud accomplishment was being one of the founders of the Meals On Wheels program in East Liverpool where she faithfully delivered those meals on her “downtown” route for 25 years, five days a week. She did so without ever having a driver’s license, instead she had the assistance of countless friends and family members who would drive her.
Her family and those who knew her will forever remember Bonnie’s love to entertain, whether it was for the hosting family and friends for the holidays or for any other special occasion. She hosted countless wedding and baby showers for her family, church friends and other acquaintances, along with luncheons and dinners for her numerous club and church meetings. All of this earned her the unofficial title of “Hostess-with-the-Mostest” which was featured in The Evening Review.
Her love and compassion for her family, country and church will never be forgotten by her family that she leaves behind, which includes two daughters, Bonnie Carole Burcham of West Point and Barbara Ellen Robertson and her husband Roland, of Wheeling; along with four sons, Robert J. Forzano and his wife Donna, of East Liverpool, Richard D. Forzano and his wife, Linda, of Manassas, Virginia, Michael F. Forzano and his wife, Jan, of Chandler, Texas and Randall L. Forzano, and his wife Robin, of Wheeling.
She will also be remembered by her 13 grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, Stephanie Grey and her husband, Bob, Richard N. Forzano and his wife, Jenn, Jessica Pusateri and her fiancé, Larry Deese, Jacob Burcham and his fiancée, Carrie Boso, Justin Forzano, Chevon Robertson, Jenna Forzano, Alyson Jones and her companion, Joshua Voigt, Julianne Forzano, Alysha Jones and her fiancé Kyle Dole, Grant Robertson, Christopher Wiegman and his wife, Kim and Michael McKee and his wife, Vanessa, along with 15 great-grandchildren, Chad Grey and his fiancée, Kasi Shaw, William Geddes, Gina Forzano, Austin Pusateri, Jorden Burcham, Abigail Myers, Emily Work, Conner Voigt, Cameron Weigman, Caden Wiegman, Kyndal Wiegman, Paislee Dole, Wyatt Voigt, Ellee Belle Dole and Raylan McKee and one great-great grandchild, McKenna Grey.
In addition, she is survived by her two nephews, Dick Keonig and wife Patty, Michael Ransom and wife Jeanine and one niece, Sue Harris and her fiancé Tom Hendricks.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, N. Richard Forzano, on September 22, 2012; two grandchildren, Christopher Jeffers Forzano and an infant Forzano and her beloved sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and James Ransom.
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the staff members of The Welty Home, who lovingly cared for her from 2005 until she moved to Good Shepherd Nursing Home in 2009, where the tremendous, loving 3 North Staff took over and helped guide and care for her during the final years of her journey with Alzheimer’s disease. A special thank you also goes out to Donald R. Kirsch, administrator of these wonderful facilities, who helped our family with both of our parents during the past 11 years.
Friends may visit Thursday afternoon and evening, December 29 at the Dawson Funeral Home where the family will be present from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The Rev. Eric M. Edwards will conduct a funeral service Friday, December 30 at 10:00 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church where the Tri-State Veterans will also conduct military honors.
Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery.
Following the service, family and friends will gather at the church for fellowship.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may take the form of contributions to WELCA, in care of St. John Lutheran Church, 400 West Hill Boulevard, East Liverpool, Ohio 43920 or Alzheimer’s Association – West Virginia Chapter, 1601 2nd Avenue, Charleston, West Virginia 25387.
View Bonnie’s memorial webpage and express condolences online at www.dawsonfuneralhome.com.
A television tribute will air Friday, December 30 at the following approximate times:
12:25 p.m. WKBN, 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV and 10:37 p.m. FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.