Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A good Catholic man.

Maj. Gen. Raymond Charles Bonnabeau Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Physician and Soldier Husband, father, grandfather, General, Franciscan, explorer, actor, photographer, disc jockey, friend. Raymond passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on February 26. Survived by wife, Mary; sons, Christopher (Carey) & Raymond (Rhonda); daughters, Mary (Dan) & Margret; grandchildren, Drew, Rees, Ella, Louie, Nora, Nick and beloved cat, Jill. Preceded in death by parents, Ella and Raymond Bonnabeau, Sr. He earned a BS from Fordham University (NYC), MD from the State University of New York, and Ph.D. in Surgery from the University of Minnesota,becoming a clinical professor ofsurgery, participating in pioneering work in heart surgery with Dr. C. Walton Lillehei. Alumnus of the Army War College and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He served in the U. S. Army: in Vietnam as chief of surgery at the 95th EvacuationHospital (China Beach); commander of the 73rd Combat Support Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; the 5501stArmy Hospital in Fort Snelling, MN; the 30th Hospital Center in Chicago; and Deputy Surgeon General of the Army for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, retiring in 1994 as a Major General. He went to the Antarctic in 1960 as physician for the University of Minnesota Geological Expedition which discovered the Jones Mountain Range, after which a mountain was named for him: Bonnabeau Dome. Until his death he was a physician at the Minneapolis VA Hospital and loved the veterans, saying it was a privilege to serve them. He was a 3rd Order Franciscan and honored and humbled to be a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. He loved the Cathedral of Saint Paul, where he served the Saturday vigil Mass. His friends will miss Saturday evenings with him at Moscow on the Hill.Visitation Thursday 4-8 PM at O'Halloran and Murphy Funeral Home, 575 S. Snelling Ave. St. Paul. Vigil service 6:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial 10 AM Friday at the Cathedral of Saint Paul preceded by 9 AM reviewal. Memorials may be sent to the Mary M. and Raymond C. Bonnabeau Jr. Endowed Scholarship at Fordham University, 888 Seventh Avenue, New York, New York, 10019, or to donor's choice. 651-698-0796. - Source
Dr. Bonnabeau was a very humble and kind man, an exemplary Catholic.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
Thanks Nan for letting me know.


  1. Our brother N., was washed clean in baptism and nourished with the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist. As a Secular Franciscan, he was united more closely with the Lord and with us through the observance of our way of life. As he strove to follow this Rule of Life, may the Lord now take him to Himself and grant him a place among His saints in glory. /Amen

    (from the Wake Service, "Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order")

  2. May his memory be eternal!

  3. May God have mercy on him, a poor sinner.

    Three Hail Marys for him.


  4. To my brother in arms--

    May you rest in peace, and may St Michael Archangel guide you to your eternal reward.


    Sara USAF

  5. I considered Dr. Ray Bonnabeau a friend; He spent his lunch hours at the local Veterans Hospital serving Mass and I who volunteer there visiting Catholic patients, over time began to spell him a bit, also serving Mass. Although I served Mass as a grade schooler, "Dr. B" was my mentor as an adult.

    He was a wonderful human being. Terry posted his obituary. I have made a few additions to that obit:

    He was an excellent amateur photographer also, regularly entering photos in the crowded Minnesota State Fair competitions and complaining when he didn't win about the quality of the winners (a venial sin, to be sure).

    I asked him once how he maintained his surgical skills when he was active performing non-surgical duties for the Army. He said he built model airplanes and rather than use decals, he painted the insignia, including the numbers,
    using paint brushes with only one hair.

    The guy was a saint. He probably won't be canonized, but he certainly was the most accomplished and one of the nicest guys I have ever met.

    One thing I found amusing about him was that even though he had been an actor in amateur productions, he apparently didn't think he could sing very well. And when I stood next to him while serving Mass at the VA (when a bishop was visiting), rather than sing, he would just mouth quietly nonsense words to make the congregation think that he was singing along. Like actors in "crowds" do on stage.

    And a good sign that he was a successful parent is that all of his four children live in the Twin Cities and during his final days, one of them was always with him at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul.

    He was about 75 or so and appeared to be in very good health. He no longer performed surgery but was a primary care (internist) in the VA's women's clinic.

    He began to feel pain in a lower leg last November and had a difficult time convincing his doctor that something was wrong. [Even doctors have problems communicating with doctors]. Finally they found a small tumor and he spent nearly a month commuting to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for I assume radiation or chemotherapy treatments. His children took turns being his driver.

    I talked to him at a Christmas party after-wards and he was very upbeat and said that there would be an operation in January to remove the tiny tumor.

    The chief of chaplains at the VA, Father Damien Schill, saw him at a birthday party January 30 and he was using a "walker." Once they began the surgery, they found that the tumor had spread to his entire calf and most of the lower leg muscles had to be removed.

    About February 15, he was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul where he started more chemotherapy. He was discharged last Thursday and died a "happy Catholic death" at home on Saturday.

    Now they say that the cancer, caused by Agent Orange exposure from his Vietnam service, that had metastasized.

    The VA has agreed to pay for his treatment.

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him; may his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.

  6. Ray - I forgot you knew him well. Thanks very much for adding to this obituary. I too think he is a saint.

  7. I went to his wake last night and the funeral today at the Cathedral. Bishop Piche' presided as Abp. Nienstedt was out of town.

    Fr. Joseph Johnson, pastor of the Cathedral, gave a marvelous eulogy. They're not supposed to do that, but in this case, I don't think that Rome will get any letters.

    Fr. Johnson said he marveled when he learned that Ray was a retired Major General, "Gee, a general is serving for me." Then he reflected that Ray had served as a servant in his military career, in his hobbies, with his family and friends, as a lay Franciscan (minister of the local chapter), as a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and with the Church, as parishioner and while serving Mass regularly at the Cathedral and at the local Veterans Hospital.

    I still marvel and am incredibly grateful for my relationship with him.


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