12­-time TJ letterman dies

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jim Bonsall, a highly decorated athlete at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur in the 1940s, died Monday at his home in Bridge City. He was 84.
Friend Jerry Pickett, a Port Neches resident who lives in Kingwood, said Tuesday that Bonsall earned 12 letters combined in football, basketball, baseball and track at Thomas Jefferson.
Bonsall went on to earn a football scholarship at Stephen F. Austin and later played on the service team at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
According to his obituary from Levingston Funeral Home, Bonsall was named outstanding performer for the 1948 AA state football semifinalist Port Arthur Yellowjackets, as Thomas Jefferson teams were known then, an all­district guard on the 1949 AA semifinalist team, second-team all­state basketball player, first­team all­District 11­AA first baseman, district champion and record­setting pole vaulter and district champion broad jumper.
Shortly after enrolling at SFA, Bonsall and Pickett were drafted into the Air Force, where both played for the Keesler AFB service team and started for three years. Football teams organized by service bases that would play college programs were commonplace at the time. Bonsall also served during the Korean Conflict and was a member of the Bridge City American Legion.
Bonsall later worked for Chevron Chemical in Orange for more than 30 years, retiring as a lab technician, according to his obituary.
He is survived by wife Lynda Maclin Bonsall of Bridge City, daughter Cynthia M. Bonsall of Boone, North Carolina, son James David Bonsall and wife Amy of The Woodlands and grandchildren Allison and Tyler Bonsall.
Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Levingston Funeral Home in Groves. Burial with military honors will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park.
Visitation is scheduled for 5­8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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