John F. Bonsib
April 14, 1923 – July 29, 2018
John Frank Bonsib passed away on July 29, 2018 in Fort Wayne after a long illness at age 95. He was born April 14, 1923 in Indianapolis to Louis and Marietta Bonsib. He graduated from South Side High School in 1941 where he was Advertising Manager of the South Side Times and Editor of the 1941 Yearbook, harbingers of activities that would epitomize his subsequent professional carrier. John attended Indiana University, Michigan University and Columbia University, educational activities interrupted by military service during WWII. He received a degree in Business from Columbia University that led to entry into the Columbia University Graduate School Program in Business. John returned to Fort Wayne in 1947 to join the Bonsib Advertising Agency, started by his father, Louis, where his brother Richard was also an executive. In 1950 he met married Nancy Van Arnam. They had two daughters, Deborah and Rebecca. Following Nancy’s untimely passing, John met Patricia Grothouse Gladieux. They married in 1964. This union included her three sons: Robert, Stephen and Curtis.
John’s entire professional career was spent in Fort Wayne where his entrepreneurial talents and innovations were numerous and his community service notable. As President and Chairman of the Bonsib Advertising Agency, it became the largest advertising agency in the state. After 25 years in advertising, John left the business in 1972 to found Citizens Cable Communication Inc. with his wife Patricia. In 1978 they won the Fort Wayne Franchise which opened with 19 stations, a remarkable number at that time. It was the first system to nationally televise ESPN and one of the first to carry BET. They also established 5 local use channels and paid for the public library’s TV studio. John’s other ventures include Page Alert, one of the first county-wide paging systems, and Vertical RealEstate, Inc. which built communication towers. John was very active in community service. He was Vice President of the Fort Wayne Kiwanis, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Central Catholic Father’s Club (despite being a Presbyterian), Co-Founder of the Fine Arts Foundation that served The Fort Wayne Arts School, The Civic Theater and the Fort Wayne Music Society (later named the Fort Wayne Philharmonic). He helped create the Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities, and provided service to the League for the Blind, Allen County Public Library, and Memorial Coliseum. In recognition of these many contributions, in 2004 he received the Silver Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne.
John Bonsib is lovingly remembered by his family for his many fine personal qualities. He was an attentive and loving spouse and father, and a role model for his children and all who worked with him throughout his career. John is survived by his wife Patricia, 5 children: Deborah (Michael) Christman, Rebecca (Rob) Bonsib, Robert (Cynthia) Bonsib, Stephen (Christine) Bonsib, Curtis Bonsib, 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. A private memorial service will be held on August 1. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Fort Wayne (www.seasfw.org) or the Alzheimer’s Association (www.act.alz.org).
- Final Resting: Lindenwood Cemetery
John F. Bonsib
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August 1, 2018
Mr. John Bonsib was a remarkable and gentle man. I knew him through his equally remarkable daughter, Deborah and will miss his humor, spirit and love for his family. Deborah lives his kind nature and smart ways everyday as a loving wife, mother, grandmother and successful business woman . RIP John.
July 31, 2018
Mr. Bonsib was a nice man with a great smile. We will miss him . Our dearest sympathy to Mrs. Bonsib and her family. Carol and Rose (Maid Perfect)