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With love and the fondest memories, we announce the passing of Helen Bonanno of Manassas, Virginia and Salvo, North Carolina. She was 87 years young when she peacefully passed away at her family beach house, surrounded by her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughter Anne Cherney and her husband Dennis of Elk Grove, CA, daughter Jaqueline Bentley and her husband Doug of Lenior, NC, son Michael Bonanno and his wife Dianne of Manassas, VA, Christopher Bonanti and his wife Roselyn of Nokesville, VA; ten grandchildren Amie, Brian, Sean, Heather, Amanda, Joseph, Grace, Hayley, Jolie, Grayson; and four great grandchildren Sawyer, Lindsey, Lucas and Bryson. She is preceded by her great granddaughter Charlotte “Charlie.” She is also survived by her nephew, Arthur Sheck and niece, Karen Hughes.
Helen was born and grew up in NJ. She attended nursing school and then was swept off her feet by her husband, Joseph. They enjoyed 50 years of marriage together, which was only cut short when Joseph passed away in 2007. They lived most of their life in Brick Township, NJ where they raised four children. When Joseph retired in 1999, they moved to Lenior, NC to be close to their daughter and granddaughters. In 2005, they moved to Manassas, VA to live with their son, Michael, and his family, so Joseph could be treated for terminal cancer. Helen stayed with Michael and his family for the last 18 years of her life.
Helen had an amazing gift of making friends feel like family. She was quite the talker! If she had your ear, it would be tough to get away. And of course, she always had food in the house that was not allowed to be eaten, because it was for visitors only. She was that “traditional Italian” woman, who talked with her hands and always wanted to sit around the kitchen table and talk or play cards. Her love language was food and feeding people.
One of her greatest pleasures, beyond spoiling her grandchildren, was nurturing plants – she had quite the green thumb. Helen also loved to sew and was a member of a quilting guild in Manassas, VA.
In her later years, she enjoyed puzzles, collecting shells at the beach, playing Bunco, and reading the newspaper cover to cover, and again – talking your ear off.
We asked family and friends to describe Helen in one or two words, and their answers were not surprising: talkative, stubborn, creative, smart, and green thumb.
Helen is gone in body, but her spirit lives on in all of those she touched and loved in her lifetime.
We will honor her wishes by holding a viewing at Pierce Funeral Home, 9609 Center St., Manassas, VA 20110 on Saturday, August 19th. A private family viewing is from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. The family will then receive friends from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Afterwards, the family will host a celebration of life for family and friends at Michael and Dianne’s home. Helen will be laid to rest with her husband at Quantico National Cemetery in VA. Helen wanted pink roses and white daisies at her viewing, so if you are interested in sending flowers, please send arrangements containing them. In lieu of flowers, well-wishers are asked to consider donations to the Dementia Society of America.
Please share your condolences with the family at www.gallopfuneralservices.com or www.piercefh.com. Both Gallop Funeral Services (NC) and Pierce Funeral Home (VA) were entrusted with coordinating arrangements for Helen.
The family also wishes to thank Quantico National Cemetery for the wonderful care it demonstrates in taking care of Joseph’s gravesite for the past 16 years. We are confident such care will continue upon Helen’s arrival.