Obituaries for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

John Gornall

John Lowell Gornall Sr., 93, passed away Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A son of Appalachia, he was raised on the Brookside Dairy Farm at Polkadotte in the hills north of Ironton. Lowell was valedictorian of the 1940 Mason-Aid High School class and was an all-around athlete.

He answered his country’s call in 1942 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After Officer’s Candidate School, Lowell married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy (“Dottie”) Louise Matney, in 1942 at Oakland Chapel on Oak Ridge Road in Aid.

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After World War II, Lowell and Dottie briefly returned home. Dottie served as the pianist and Lowell served as Sunday School superintendent at Oakland Chapel (their “home church”). They were always active in and generously supported a church wherever they lived, as well as their home church.

In 1948, Lowell returned to the Air Force as a captain stationed on the island of Guam in the Pacific. From there, and later in Japan, he planned and then managed munitions for round-the-clock B-29 bombing missions in Korea. During his Air Force career, he was stationed in Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, the Pentagon, California, Japan, Germany and Guam. During those years, he earned a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

Of his many military decorations and honors, he was most proud of his Bronze Star, earned for supervising munition operations during the Korean War and disarming numerous dangerous bombs, his Legion of Medal, being selected to serve on the site response teams for two accidentally dropped nuclear weapons, and his Small Arms Expert Marksman Medal. He earned a reputation for taking care of and mentoring officers and enlisted men and women serving under his command, especially younger folks. He retired as a colonel after serving 31 years, including World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

After retirement, Lowell and Dottie lived in Lynn Haven, Florida, where they were active members of Lynn Haven Presbyterian Church. They established the Viking Scholarship Endowment Fund to provide annual college scholarships for Symmes Valley high School students. After Dottie’s death in 1998, Lowell moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to be near his son, John, Jr., John’s wife, Susan, and his grandsons, Matney, Ian and Colin. He was lovingly assisted and cared for by his companion, Mrs. Patricia McGuinn.

At the age of 90, he was still playing golf and winning Senior Olympic events.

For many years Lowell and his brother George, an Army World War II veteran, marched in the Ironton Memorial Day Parade. He was Honorary Grand Marshal in 2009 and the old colonel could not resist marching instead of riding. He marched in 2010 and 2011, but rode in 2013.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eva Rebecca Harmon and John Gilbert Gornall; brothers, Harold Harmon and George Henry; and his sister, Rosa Marylene Willis.

He is survived by his son; daughter-in-law; three grandsons, all of whom live in Atlanta, Georgia; many friends and many good memories. His vitality, generosity, sense of humor, work ethic and curiosity were, are and will be an inspiration to those who knew and loved him.

Memorial services will be at Lynn Haven Presbyterian Church, 810 Georgia Avenue, Lynn Haven, Florida 32444 (850-265-2051) with Dr. Dan Mitchell officiating. Burial will follow with full military honors at the Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 3733 N. U.S. Highway 231. Kent Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 2403 Harrison Avenue, Panama City (850-763-4694) is handling arrangements. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Wellesley, MA or Lymphoma Research Foundation, New York.


Charles Bonzo

June 20, 1931 — Nov. 22, 2014

Charles Edward Bonzo, 83, of Ironton, passed away Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at The Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus. The Raceland native was born June 20, 1931, a son of the late Louis and Amelia (Burkhardt) Bonzo. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Bonzo, whom he married in 1969.

Mr. Bonzo was a graduate of Varina High School in Richmond, Virginia. Charles went on to serve his country as a U.S. Navy veteran. His 20-year service was as senior chief on both diesel and nuclear submarines. He also attended San Diego Community College and was a self-employed mechanic.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Jerry Bonzo.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Dr. Laura (Teague) Bonzo-Sims, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Sharon Garey R.N., of Manhattan, New York; sister, Rosemary Bays, of Wurtland; brother, David (Peg) Bonzo, of Melbourne, Florida; one grandson, Griffin Sims, of Lexington, Kentucky; several nieces, nephews; and a host of other family members and friends.

A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Bonzo residence with military honors and service conducted by the VFW Post 8850. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the VFW Post 8850, 3028 S. Third St., Ironton, OH 45638.

Condolences may be made to the Bonzo family by visiting


Aaron Lafferty

Aaron Walter Lafferty, 26, of Huntington, died Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, at Cabell Huntington Hospital.Funeral service will be 2 p.m. today at Hall Funeral Home and Crematory in Proctorville. Visitation will be 1-2 p.m. today at the funeral home. Condolences may be expressed to the family at


John Allen

Oct. 16, 1942-Nov. 23, 2014

John Burton Allen, 72, of Ironton, died on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, at King’s Daughters Medical Center from complications of a stroke. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, on Oct. 16, 1942, the son of the late Charles and Mildred Dunkum Allen. He was a veteran and self-employed motorcycle mechanic. He was the husband of Rebecca Allen and father of three children, Lea Andrea (Christopher) Travis, of High Point, North Carolina, Charles Acy (Mary) Allen, of Ironton and Shawn (Stephanie) Allen, of Morgantown, West Virginia; and seven grand children. He was preceded by one sister, Charlie Mae Allen. Visitation will be from 6-9 p.m. Friday at O’Keefe Baker Funeral Home. Funeral will be at noon on Saturday at the funeral home with Christopher Travis.


Donald Sisler

Donald Sisler, 68, of Ironton, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2014, at King’s Daughters Medical Center. Arrangements are pending at Brown Funeral Chapel in Ironton.


Gloria Hackett

Gloria J. Hackett, 65, of Ironton, died Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at her home. There will be private services. Arrangements are under the direction of Brown Funeral Chapel.