In Memory of
U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Bonilla, South Dakota
Beadle County

November 5, 1926--September 27, 1952
Died of Injuries from a Car Accident near Champaign, Illinois


Cleo Irene Bonin was born at Wolsey in Beadle County, South Dakota, on November 5, 1926, to Lloyd L. and Ida I. Bonin. She also had a brother, Elwood. Cleo attended Bonilla High School and graduated in 1944. She then went on to attend Sprague School of Nursing in Huron. She graduated in 1947. After graduating, she worked at the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital.

Cleo Irene Bonin enlisted in the service on February 14, 1952. She was a part of the Nurses Corps and was stationed at Chanute Field Air Force Base in Illinois.

Lieutenant Cleo Irene Bonin died of injuries she received in an automobile accident northeast of Champaign, Illinois, on September 27, 1952. She and three others were leaving the Air Force base for breakfast when the car hit a bridge. Two other people died as a result of the accident, First Lieutenant Rosamond E. Weinburg, who was also an Air Force nurse, and S/Sgt. Daniel E. Allison, the driver of the car. The third person in the car, Marvin Saxon was seriously injured. Marvin Saxon was a civilian musician from Rock Island, Illinois, who had been playing music on the Chanute Field Air Force Base.

Lieutenant Cleo Irene Bonin’s body was returned to South Dakota, accompanied by Lt. Virginia Toebaas, also from Chanute Field. She was buried in Bonilla Cemetery with military honors. At the time of her death, she left behind her parents, her brother, Elwood Bonin, her grandparents, and a niece and a nephew. During the time of her service she was awarded the National Defense Medal.

I will always remember the service of Cleo Irene Bonin and the sacrifices she and so many other soldiers have made for our country.

This entry was respectfully submitted by April G. Goodson, 9th Grade, Spearfish High School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on July 22, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus and the Huronite and Daily Plainsman, 9/30/52 issue. No family contact made.