Osmond Clark Bonsey

Osmond's Story

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Surry - Osmond Clark Bonsey, 88, died October 30, 2016, at the Maine Veterans' Home in Bangor, Maine. He was born July 26,1928, in Eastbrook, Maine, the son of Claude L. and Rena (Wilbur) Bonsey. Raised in Surry, Maine, where he met his beloved wife Ann, Oz was educated in Surry and Ellsworth, graduating from Ellsworth High School in 1946.
Oz enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1946, serving for two years. Upon earning his B.A. in Public Management in 1952 from the University of Maine, he embarked on a distinguished career as a town manager in several Maine municipalities, starting in Corinth, where, at 23, he was, according to a news clipping, lauded as the youngest town manager in the world. In 1953, he moved to Mars Hill, and two years later he moved on to Freeport serving a seven year tenure as that town's manager. In 1962, Osmond became Falmouth's first town manager staying there until 1974, when he became the Executive Director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments. Later, he secured his last public administration position, managing the Town of Yarmouth for twelve years until his retirement in 1991.
Oz was a longtime member of Lygonia Lodge of Masons in Ellsworth.
In 1965, Osmond was named President of the Maine Town and City Management Association, and in 1983, he was given that organization's Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year Award. A member of the Maine Municipal Association starting in 1952, Osmond served as its President in 1972. He also served as a Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust Trustee from 1992 to 2009.
In the 1970's and 1980's, Oz had stints as a Maine Medical Center Trustee, a United Way of Portland Board Member, and as a Portland Rotary Club Member. He was a member of the Cumberland County Extension Association for several years, serving as President in 1970, and he was a member and Vice-Chairman of the Cumberland County Charter Commission. From 1984 to1986, he was President of the Area Development Council of Greater Portland.
In the summer between his junior and senior years of college, while he was interning at the Ellsworth City Hall, Osmond joined the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) eventually becoming a Northeast Vice President, where he chaired the Ethics Committee. Later he became the organization's Vice President, and in 1987, Osmond earned the distinction of becoming President of the ICMA, that organization's first president from a city of fewer than 20,000. Oz loved it when on the occasion of his nomination, Governor John R. McKernon proclaimed October 28, 1987 "Osmond Bonsey Day," and Oz was very proud of the fact that — at their own expense — all seven of his council members attended his inauguration in Montreal.
That same year, Osmond received both the Greater Portland Council of Governments Regional Citizen of the Year Award, and the Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Portland Region Neal W. Allen Award.
First appointed to Maine's Board of Environmental Protection by Governor McKernon in 1991, and later re-appointed by Governor Angus King, Osmond served on the board for nine years, the last three years as Chairman.
In 1991, when Osmond retired to his hometown of Surry, he continued to donate his time and talents to his community and colleagues. An active member and President of both the Surry Community Improvement Association, and the Surry Historical Society, not only did Osmond spearhead a very successful reunion of the Surry Village School, but on the occasion of Surry's bicentennial in 2003, he researched and wrote the history of that town. He also served as a member of the Executive Advisory Board at Friendship Cottage in Blue Hill, plus for a decade he continued to share his municipal expertise by volunteering as an ICMA/Maine Town and City Management Association Range Rider.
Oz was creative, and he sure liked to have fun, especially if he could combine it with a spin in the spotlight. In the 1990's, he appeared in print ads for LL Bean, in a national State Farm commercial, and as an extra, along with Ann, in Stephen King's movie Thinner. When Oz wrote and self-published his memoir Life is Luck, he delighted in distributing it to friends and family. He was a bit of a prankster, and the life of many parties where he often recounted "stories" about the people in the room. Some of his very best times were spent with his dearest friends Frank and Connie Harrison, Ted and Dolores Vail, and Harold and Charlotte Mason.
Osmond loved his Red Sox and he idolized Ted Williams. The year Ted Williams served as the Clam Festival's Grand Marshall, Oz was Yarmouth's town manager, and the photograph of the two of them was one of the most precious of his memorabilia, which is saying something, because Osmond documented his considerable accomplishments and his family's entire life in dozens of scrapbooks and diaries.
Osmond is survived by his wife of 64 years Ann (McGraw) Bonsey; his daughter, Lynn Bonsey and her husband, Gil Lacroix of Bucksport; his daughter, Lorna Healey and her husband, John Healey of Litchfield; his son, Cameron Bonsey of Kennebunk; seven grandchildren of whom he was very proud: Brandon Bonsey of Arlington, Virginia; Michael Healey and his wife, Kayla McCaffrey of Westbrook, Maine; Ryan Campbell of Boston; Kourtney Bonsey of Brighton, Massachusetts; Christopher Healey of Portland, Maine; Hilary Campbell of Portland, Maine; Sam Bonsey of Kennebunk. He is also survived by a great-grandson, William Healey of Westbrook. He was predeceased by his sister Natalie (Bonsey) Hess.
Special thanks to Carolyn Brennan-Alley, Rachel Ambrose, and Sharon Sleeper for their care and compassion during Oz's final years.
Visiting hours will be held at Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth, Maine from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, November 6 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Surry Elementary School, 754 North Bend Road, Surry, Maine.
Gifts in Osmond's memory may be given to The Old Surry Village Schoolhouse Rehabilitation Project, Town of Surry, PO Box 147, Surry, Maine 04684.
Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com
Published on  November 2, 2016
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