Edsel John Bonnell

July 7, 1935 to February 7, 2024


To view the funeral service for the late Mr. Edsel John Bonnell on Friday, February 16, 2024, beginning at 10:40 a.m. with a musical prelude from the Gower Community Band, please follow the link below:


Passed away in peace and dignity after a brief hospitalization with pneumonia, Edsel spent his last day surrounded by family before heading off on his next adventure with his beloved Anthea. He is predeceased by his wife Anthea (nee Marshall) and infant son Matthew, parents John and Rhoda, sister Ina Winsor and brother-in-law Bruce Winsor, brothers-in-law John Marshall and Bill Marshall; nephew Harry Marshall; and parents-in-law Walter and Gertrude Marshall. Leaving to mourn his sons Mark (Kimberly); John (Susan); Bruce (Liann); and Brett (Laura); grandchildren Laura, Emily, Sarah, David, Clara, Elizabeth and Sophia; great grandchildren Theo and Anthea; sisters-in law Joan Marshall and Nancy Garner; niece Major Gail Winsor and a large number of other relatives and dear friends whose lives he touched, including the generations of musicians in the Gower Youth Band and the Gower Community Band.

Edsel was a powerful force of nature with a kind and generous heart. In his early days, Edsel spent most of his free time on or near the water either in his boat or off trouting with friends. He was a devoted husband and father who valued family and friends above all else. His greatest friend was his beloved Anthea. They were each others biggest supporters and best friends and their 55 year marriage served as an inspiration for many. 

Professionally, Edsel had a tremendous impact on the province. He began his career in the mid 1950s as a journalist with CJON and was on location filing daily radio reports during the tumultuous IWA strike in Badger in 1959. In the 1960s he moved to print journalism and became newspaper editor and eventually owner of the Daily News. In the early 1970s he sold the Daily News and started Bonnell Public Relations, the first independent PR firm in the province. He was a pioneer in the public relations field, earning Honourary Membership and a Life Time Achievement Award from the Canadian Public Relations Society. In 1989 he stepped away from Bonnell Public Relations and joined Premier Clyde Wells’ office as Chief of Staff, Principal Secretary and Principal Advisor.

Outside of his family, music was his biggest passion. He built on his early musical foundation with Salvation Army bands and parlayed it into a lifetime of community service and outreach through music. His most significant community impact was as founder and conductor of the Gower Youth Band and the Gower Community Band. In his 45 year tenure with the Bands of Gower, Edsel lovingly dedicated thousands of hours conducting the band, providing free private lessons for young musicians and contributing to the musical fabric of the province through the creation of such programs as the Terra Nova Program at Memorial University’s School of Music for original composition. Edsel himself was a composer, writing numerous hymns and musical selections for the band. Next to his family, the Band was the love of his life. He loved everything about it – the music, the musicians, the comradery, the community outreach and, of course, the fun. His legacy lives on in the more than 500 musicians who played in the bands.

For his service to his community, Edsel was named St. John’s Citizen of the Year in 1984 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 2001. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and was inducted into the Hall of Honour at the St. John’s Kiwanis Music Festival. In 2002 he received Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and in 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from Memorial University.

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place. Visitation with family and friends will be held at Carnell’s Funeral Home, Freshwater Road, on Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 13 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A celebration of the life and gifts of Edsel will be held at Gower Street United Church on Friday, February 16, beginning at 10:40 a.m. with a musical prelude from the Gower Community Band. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Edsel’s memory would be gratefully accepted for the community service outreach program of the Gower Community Band which owes its existence to his untiring work.



2-5 p.m. on February 12, 2024

7-9 p.m. on February 12, 2024

2-5 p.m. on February 13, 2024

7-9 p.m. on February 13, 2024

Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
View on Map


11:00am, Friday February 16th

Gower Street United Church


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My deepest condolences to the whole Bonnell family. I played 3rd trumpet for a few years in GYB back in the late 80’s. I have so many great memories of the music, the friendships, and of course, our epic Ontario tour! I’ll never forget Edsel saying, “The notes aren’t on the paper. They’re just dots! YOU make the music!” Blessings to you all. Heaven’s band just got a lot more dynamic…

So very sorry for this great loss. As a one time resident of OReilly Street, I remember your family fondly. On one magic Christmas Eve, I woke up to the sound of voices in the living room and went to investigate, as any small child would do. To my surprise there was Santa talking with my mom and dad. When he spoke to me and asked if I had been a good girl, I replied Yes Mr Bonnell I was. This memory has stayed with each and every Christmas Eve. Rest easy Santa.

Mark, John, Bruce and Brett – My deepest condolences to you and all your families. Your dad truly was a remarkable man. Thank you for sharing him with us in the GYB. And as one of many who attended his beautiful funeral service virtually today, his legacy has clearly spread far and wide. Our lives are so much richer because he believed in all of us.

Extending my heartfelt condolences to the Bonnell family. I echo the thoughts and feelings of many others who have posted and shared stories of life in the Gower Youth Band.

Edsel’s influence went far beyond music. He taught us that hard work does pay off. Life is better when you give – and as a band member we gave music to many. I still talk about our community concerts on Christmas Eve – taking music to people who were unable to attend our concerts. Dream big! There were so many times I’d shake my head wondering how in the world will we ever play this and yet, we did! And of course, our first GYB album! A great guy leaving a great and lasting impact on the community.

May Edsel’s legacy continue to touch the lives of many more around the world through the impact he had on the lives of his students.

You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Brett and Family, we are so sorry to learn that your Dad has passed. He contributed greatly to his Province and. community which he dearly loved. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all of the Family . Please accept our sincere sympathies.

Mark, John, Bruce, and Brett,

My deepest condolences to you and your families. I was devastated after hearing of Mr. Bonnell’s passing. Take comfort that he shared his love of music with so many people whether you were playing an instrument or a person listening in the audience. Sending my prayers to you and your families.

Such wonderful memories of your dad over the years at Gower. Sincerest condolences to all you boys. You ve had a great role model who will be so missed. Loving thoughts with you all from Reg and me.

Bruce,Leanne & family Sorry to hear of your father”s passing..Please accept our sincere condolences.

Emily and Family,
Sending condolences on your loss. I had many friends that were in the Gower Youth Band and I remember them talking about the experience with such enthusiasm! To have touched so many lives with the gift of music is a wonderful legacy. Thinking of you and your family.

Dr. Bonnell was such an influence on my life and the lives of hundreds of young people and their families in the GYB/GCB that there are no words that I can write that would do justice to his legend.
One of the songs that I performed several times as a vocal soloist with the band was Josh Groban’s, “You Raise Me Up.” When words fail, music speaks. I feel that this is the most appropriate
theme of what this man did for me and so many young people. Thank-you sir.

“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.”

I am heartbroken to hear of Edsel’s passing. I had the absolute pleasure of working with him when he was Chief of Staff in the Premier’s Office from 1989-1993 and had the utmost respect for him. He was so kind and I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to know him. Dan and I send our condolences to the Bonnell family for this huge loss.

Sincere condolences to the Bonnell Family on the passing of Edsel. He was as large as life and will be long remembered for all his kindnesses and good deeds as he guided our youth and our politicians in their quests to become better Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

John and the Bonnell family. My sincere condolences on the passing of your Dad, my prayers are with you.

To the entire family of Edsel Bonnell, my sincere condolences on his passing. I knew Edsel for more than 40 years in a professional capacity, but I was also aware of his longstanding commitment to the Gower Youth Bands. I can see from the comments here that he was a kind and patient mentor to several generations of young musicians, on whom he clearly made a deep impression.
In his professional life he was also a mentor to many younger people entering the public relations and communications disciplines. He was the esteemed elder (even though he was not old then) in a profession that was evolving, and in which he provided a steady hand.
He certainly helped me immensely when I was starting out. He was kind and generous with his time and his knowledge. He provided wise counsel on issues, as well as guidance to many colleagues who were seeking professional accreditation. A great man who deserves all the accolades he received over his long and diverse career.

John , Susan and family. Sending sincere condolences to you and your entire family on the loss of your loved one. May all the wonderful memories you have of your dad help carry you through the difficult times ahead.

Alma and Cliff Pollett

Mark, Kimberley and the Bonnell Family, our deepest condolences on the passing of your Dad. Cherish all your precious memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

My deepest condolences to the Bonnell family, and to the many others whose lives Edsel has touched.

I met Edsel when he came out of retirement to work with the C-NLOPB. A less musical task couldn’t be imagined, but it was impossible to spend time with him without coming to know his deep love of family, music and the Gower Bands.

I’ll remember him fondly as a wise counsellor, a large personality nevertheless capable of great delicacy, and a supremely entertaining raconteur of Dickensian proportions.

We can all be certain, now, that when the Last Trumpet sounds, it will be in key, and on beat.

Mark, John, Bruce, Brett,
Sending sincere condolences to you and your families at this difficult time. I will forever cherish the many memories I have of my years in GYB. May your father rest in peace after a life well-lived.

Bonnell Family: A beautifully written obituary. My heartfelt condolences to you. I had the pleasure to work with Edsel at Confederation Building. He was a gentleman with always a kind word even when he had to undertake an unpleasant task. He had wonderful stories to share and great humour. A profound loss to his family as well as the Gower Youth & Community bands. Reunited now with his beloved Anthea. Rest in Peace, Edsel.

Sorry to hear of Edison passing , remarkable man . My condolences to all the Bonnell families at this most difficult time .

To the Bonnell families.
Our sincere condolences as you bid farewell to one who was such a guiding light in your lives. It was always such a pleasure to attend any of the GYB performances whether at Gower or elsewhere., and we were so proud when our daughter, at the age of 11 became a member. His commitment, kindness and caring to those young people was so evident. He will always be remembered by so many for his tremendous service.

By Eugene and Gaye Parsons

Dear John, Mark, Bruce, Brett, & members of the Gower Band family,

I’m very sorry to hear of Mr. Bonnell’s passing. He was one of the most influential teachers of my musical career. Mr. Bonnell allowed me to borrow a bassoon for a summer, which has sent me on a wonderful musical journey to a full-time career as a bassoonist. I cherish the time that I spent with him in the Gower Youth Band and Community Band and could never thank him enough for the dedication and support that he has shown me through and after my time with the GYB/GCB.
I have loved reading the tributes online. Heather Barrett’s CBC radio tribute to Mr. Bonnell was wonderful and lighthearted, and the photos of old ‘Fly Papers’ have really been uplifting.
You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.

Mark, John, Brett, Bruce and families – Henry and I send our sincere condolences on the death of Edsel. I have such fond memories of him (and Anthea) from my years working in. the Gower Church office and the Band practicing/working above me. My favourite memory is Christmas Eve – my busiest day in the office and at home but it always included KFC with the Band (and Anthea’s nanaimo bars). Your dad’s commitment to the GYB/GCB was unwavering. May memories shared with family and friends this week support you as you mourn his passing and celebrate such a well-lived life.
Shirley & Henry Andrews

My deepest condolences to you Mark, John, Bruce, Brett and families. I am truly at a loss for words to describe the profound and lasting impact that GYB had on my development. Your father showed confidence in me and my potential that I did not have in myself as a shy teen, relatively new to trumpet. I am very disappointed that I am not able to make it back to St. John’s this week to attend the visitation and funeral and share fond memories with you personally. I am sending you strength and comfort, with the knowledge that the legacy of both of your loving and generous parents lives on in all of us. Gower Power forever.

Very sorry to hear of Mr. Bonnell’s passing. So many fond Saturday morning memories spent playing music with friends and hoping to steal a smile from Mr. B if a note was played especially well. The GYB and Mr. Bonnell were instrumental in shaping who I am today, and I am forever grateful. My life membership plaque is still one of my most prized processions. Seeing the pride on Mr. Bonnell’s face when he shook my hand and presented it to me is a vivid memory for me still, some 20+ years on. Thank you for the years of dedication, passion, fun, and Christmas KFC. We all love you very much!

My deepest condolences to the Bonnell famiky

My deepest condolences to the Bonnell family

What can I say that hasn’t already been said?
The man was a guiding light. He did God’s work, and his ministry was music. We were lucky to know Mr. and Mrs. Bonnell and be a part of their journey. My thoughts are with Mark, John, Bruce, Brett, and their families. Also, with all us in the GYB and GCB family. Man, were we lucky!
Da Fly LIves on!

To the Bonnell Family
So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. What special people your parents were and the love they had for their Gower Band Family. Your father was an inspiration
to the many children who went through the band program our own included.
Our Sincere Condolences
Freeman and Helena Churchill

As a member of the Gower Bands since 2001, I can hardly remember a time when the band has not been a part of my life. The experiences that I had as a young person in the GYB no doubt shaped who I am today.

Our son has been in the Gower band since 2001 and it has been a huge source of pleasure for him and us during every concert, church service, outreach performance, and road trip (Bonavista and Churchill Falls).

We will always be grateful to the Bonnell family for those happy memories. The image of Mr. Bonnell conducting the Gower Youth and Community bands is forever etched in our minds

My deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Bonnell boys who lived across the street when I was growing up. One of my fondest memories… going fishing in the white jeep and sharing ghost stories and jokes as we huddled inside it, safe from the pouring pouring rain..

Condolences to the Bonnell family on the death of your wonderful father. He was a loving dad, proud Grandad, and great Granddad and to me a kind, gracious friiend. He,has left a huge hole in all our lives that will be very hard to fill..

To the Bonnell Family

Thinking of you all at this difficult time in the loss of Edsel. We got the privilege of getting to know him and your mom while being the wonderful neighbors of my parents. We would enjoy the many conversations over the years and they would share the joy of my daughters accomplishments in school and figure skating as well share all the blessings that were brought to them by their children and grandchildren. My daughter also had the love for the piano so that was always a good conversation as music was well loved. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

To the Bonnell Family

Our deepest condolences at this time on the loss of Edsel. He was a great neighbor and friend to us while living in C.B.S. We enjoyed his many conversations and knowledge on many things and his love for music. When he moved back to the city we still kept in contact by phone and would love to hear about his family, grandchildren and great grandchildren which he so loved to talk about and their accomplishments. We were saddened to hear about his passing and may the memories you share bring you comfort at this time of loss. We will be thinking of you all.

It is with a heavy heart that I send condolences to John and his brothers and the entire family. When I joined the GCB, I was very rusty, having not played for over 20 years,but right from the get go Edsel made me feel welcome and appreciated. Hee would say he was happy to have me simply being a warm body in the seat, holding a note while the experienced musicians could take a breath. His kindness and patience shone through his sometimes harsh criticism and somehow all I wanted was to please him or at least avoid a stern look. I moved from Sax to Percussion after a tonsillectomy and Mr. Bonnell endured my very slow learning curve with the many instruments I had to learn. His dedication to public service and the music inspired me to want to practice more than it probably showed. When I left the band, it was to return to university and it was Edsel’s letter of recommendation that got me admitted and changed the course of my life. I will forever be in his debt. He was much more than a band director and I am only sorry I never got the chance to tell him in person. Rest in peace, together with Anthea and all the musical greats!

To the Bonnell Family,

Condolences on your loss. Edsel was a driving force who touched so many lives. I have many fond memories of the GYB, from a small start through many practices, church services, and grand concerts. He will live on for a long time in the hearts and memories of so many of us.

To The Bonnell Family.
I had the honour and privilege of knowing Edsel as a working colleague and friend for some 35 years.
His contribution to music and the GYB has been overwhelmingly acknowledged and deserved.
At the same time, he had the most in-depth knowledge of the history, people and events of this Province of anyone I know. When time came to “put pen to paper” his command of the English language, his common sense and his humour never ceased to amaze right up to his last days.
To the family, Edsel was not a man to boast but when he spoke of his beloved Anthea and his sons and their families his pride always came shining through.
“Go Rest High On That Mountain” my friend

Dear John, Susan and family,
Norm and I are sorry to hear of Mr. Bonnells recent death. This is a challenging transition which leaves sadness and a sense of loss, but also gratitude for a life well lived. May he test in peace.
Please extend our heartfelt condolences to all the family.

Maxine & Norm

To the Bonnell Family

I worked with Edsel at the C-NLOPB.. A truly fine gentleman. I remember when I was thinking about retiring, I had a school aged child and an ailing mother at the time, and Edsel’s positive comments certainly showed where his priorities lay – family.. Many of us would have known Anthea almost as well as Edsel, given that he spoke of her often.

Rest in Peace Edsel – with maybe the mellow sound of a trumpet.

Anne Hannaford

To the Bonnell Family,

We have appreciated, admired, and respected Mr. Bonnell’s community abilities and dedication for decades..
He will be missed but his spirit & legacy will live on.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Mark, John, Bruce, Brett, and family

Please accept our deepest condolences. Words are simply inadequate to convey the impact that Mr. Bonnell had on the lives of those of us fortunate enough to have been members of the GYB. He will truly be missed.

Dave Churchill & family

To all the Bonnell family

As a parent of a GYB and GCB member, I remember Edsel, and Anthea with great affection, and awe of all the time and energy they spent with both bands, the concerts, the visits to care homes, annual Christmas service at the Shriners, the church services, and many other community events too numerous to mention. The trips across the island, and specifically to London, Ontario. Erin’s great aunt attended one of the c9ncerts and was blown away by the band and the conductor. I remember the bake sales we had at both malls,, and the fun we had preparing for them. We always did very well at these sales, and even had regular. customers.

Your father, and your mother too, are perfect examples of community service, and instilling into young people the love of music, and enabling them to learn how to play an instrument, and enjoy every minute of being a part of this beautiful band. From the day of her audition up until the present day, Erin has loved every minute, and her father and I are so very honoured that she became a member of the band.

. Edsel has left a legacy to hundreds of musicians, as attested in their comments, and Anthea supported him in every aspect. They will be truly missed. Sincere condolences on your loss.

Judy Dawe

Brett, Laura and all the family, sending my deepest condolences and heart felt sympathy during this difficult time. Thinking about you all.

Krista Hearn

Mark, John, Bruce, and Brett my deepest condolences on your loss. Edsel was so proud of all of you.
I was a friend and colleague of Edsel’s over the past 30 years. He was a man of many talents which he shared so generously with others. I was fortunate to be a part of his email group over the past 10 years, it got us through the pandemic.
Rest in peace Edsel.

We were so sorry to hear about your father’s passing. The term “A life well lived” really applies to your father.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Noreen and Harold Press

Mark, Kim And All The Bonnell Family, Our Sincere Condolences, Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With You All At This Very Difficult Time.

Mark and the whole Bonnell Family
Sincere condolences on your great loss. Over the pass 10 years or so, Edsel has been a significant participant in our small e-mail group of self acclaimed ‘world problem solvers’ or at least commentators. A man of wit and great literary skills., he will be missed by many.

It is with sad hearts to hear of your Dad’s passing, we hope that the days ahead will make you happy to know that he is safe in the arms of his beloved wife. We didn’t know your dad but if he is anythiing like yourself he must have been a good man.

What a tremendous man. I have nothing to find memories of time in the GYB. I remember being so nervous going to audition, and then so chuffed to make it! Edsel was so much more than band director. Through the band I learned what team work meant and what community service meant. I don’t think there was ever a day I didn’t want to go to practice. And the Saturday afternoons at the church gym. Just so many beautiful memories. I sat at home this Thursday night and listened to Finlandia, 1812 etc and smiled as I remember the Kiwanis performances. Truly an incredible organization led by an extraordinary man. So many lives touched. He will never be forgotten.

Mark, John, Bruce, and Brett:

My sincerest condolences on the loss of your dad. Your dad made a huge impact in the life of St. John’s and Newfoundland and Labrador but more importantly, I think, in the lives of all the young people who came through GYB. May his memory be for a blessing.

Mark, John, Bruce, and Brett:

My sincerest condolences on the last of your dad. Your dad made a huge impact in the life of St. John’s and Newfoundland and Labrador but more importantly, I think, in the lives of all the young people who came through GYB. May his memory be for a blessing.

Mark, John, Bruce, Brett and family
We are so sorry to hear that your Dad has passed. Our heartfelt condolences to you all at this difficult time. Edsel was a great man . He moulded so many youth over his years as band director of the GYB /GCB . Edsel and Anthea were highly respected by all the band families.

Mark, Kim and family………. So sorry to hear this sad news. Sincere sympathy to you all.

Mark, John, Bruce and Brett and all the Bonnell family, Very sorry to hear of Edsel’s passing during the week. As a current Gower Community Band member for many years , I have seen firsthand the sharing of his profound knowledge of music with us, his daring us to strive for excellence in our playing, and caring for all of us as extended members of the Bonnell family. Every band member can truly say they have “Change Key” permanently imprinted on them.
He has been a real gift to us as a band and I thank the family for sharing him and his wife Anthea with us. He has instilled in us the love of music and being generous with our musical talents to the community. He was a gentle giant in the musical community and a dear family member to all of us as well. HIs love of music will live within us forever. Deepest sympathy to all the family at this most difficult time , but we all know we have much to celebrate for a life well lived and shared with everyone who knew him. I was very happy to hear that he finished his book on the band. It was a real privilege to know him. The legacy of the Gower Community Band will endure for future generations to enjoy – thanks to him. May he rest in peace.

Bob Sheppard and family

Dear Mark, John, Bruce, Brett and families,
Very sorry for your loss. Your Dad was a force for good! I have great memories of Gower and Mr. Bonnell’s wisdom and kindness (I was in the clarinet row).
Your house was a music hub too! (rock band ‘jam’ session in the basement anyone?).
A dear human has left this earth but the music of his spirit plays on.

To the Bonnell family, please accept our condolences on you lost. Mr. Bonnell certainly lived a full life and had a great impact on not only your lives but so many lives, even the countless audience members that enjoyed the community concerts. I had the pleasure of travelling with the youth band to Glovertown and Cow Head, and these were great times and treasured memories. I know his legacy and the stories lives on.

Don & Anne Pennell

Mark, Kim and families. So sorry to hear of your loss. I hope the many memories of a life well lived will help you through the next few days and will bring fond memories as time goes on.
My sincere condolences to the families.

Dr. Bonnell was a part of my life since I was small, conducting my parents in the Gower Community Band. My siblings and I grew up going to band concerts, tagging along on tours and knowing that Wednesday night was always sacred — nothing trumped band night. My family was (and are) passionate about Gower, and Mr. Bonnell was the core reason why.

It was inevitable me and my siblings would join the Gower Youth Band as soon as we could, so Saturday mornings soon became sacred as well.
Mr. Bonnell truly cared about music, and had a deep passion for what it could do. He showed me what lifelong community service looks like, and will always serve as an inspiration. Playing under his baton at seniors homes are some of the most valuable experiences I’ve had.
He could be intimidating in practice — and downright terrifying when I forgot my music folder or wore the wrong colour pants to a first performance 😝 (my 12 year-old old self was appalled by brown pants in 2007 😝)).
But Mr. Bonnell was deeply kind, gentle, funny and giving. He was a great showman, and had a flair for making things feel special. I’ll always think of Mr. Bonnell when I hear Elgar’s Nimrod. Wishing him an eternity of peace, good tuning and Nanaimo bars with Anthea ❤️

John Susan and Bonnell family, so sorry to hear of the passing of your father, father in law and Grandfather., Condolences to all. May all your memories give you some comfort in the days ahead

Mark and Family
I was saddened to hear of your Dad’s passing. He was a giant, a Man for All Seasons, a good friend and colleague. He deserved all the many honours he received, and more besides. He lived life to the full and left a huge legacy. We will long remember his wisdom, his energy, and his unsurpassed humour.
David Vardy

Mark and Family,

We send our condolences on the loss of your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We hope your memories ting you comfort.

To John and the Bonnell family, our heartfelt condolences on your father’s passing..
Rest in peace Mr. Bonnell..
Jim and Patricia Prendergast

Mark, John, Bruce and Brett… Please accept my deepest sympathies and sincere condolences on the passing of your father. I have fond memories of your father during my short tenure with the GYB. His mark was undoubtedly indelible.

I am sorry to hear of Edsel’s passing. Condolences to the entire family. RIP!

Mark, John, Bruce and Brett,
Please accept our deepest condolences.
Edsel was truly a remarkable, gifted man. His talent to take young people and turn them into accomplished musicians was second to none. The GYB -Edsel’s creation- not only gave musical opportunities to hundreds of young people over more than 40 years, but also touched the hearts of countless Newfoundlanders. Edsel had the ability to influence others and bring out the best in everyone. Louise was 9 when she joined the GYB and Edsel taught her to play the clarinet. Thanks to his infinite patience, belief and inspiration she enjoyed a memorable 10 years playing with the GYB.
Newfoundland has lost a special man. Thank you Edsel for all you have given us.
Les, Dee and Louise Hulett

Mark, John, Bruce and Brett
Dear neighbours and friends from that memorable day when we arrived in St John’s. There are many memories and stories that could be told. Your father lived a very full life of service to the community in so many different ways.. “Well done good and faithful servant”.

I was in the gower youth band for not very long, a long time ago, and yet found myself thinking about Mr Bonnell just a week ago, as I have many times, while I was composing music. Such an enormous positive influence. My deepest condolences to the family and those nearest and dearest. What a beautiful man.

Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of a truly good human being.

His legacy in professional life and family looms large.

My sincere condolences to the family

The Gower Youth Band was such a wonderful group for teens to be part of. The camaraderie, community involvement and musicality were second to none. Edsel left a huge legacy in so many of his students hearts. May he rest in peace.

Mark John Bruce and Brett
Sorry to learn of dad’s passing. I have known him since he started dating your mom. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding a long time ago. Have happy memories of years gone by as I’m sure you have as dad lived a very interesting life.

I was saddened today to hear of Mr. Bonnell’s passing. What a distinguished career and exemplary life of service to others! I extend my deepest condolences to Mark, John, Bruce, and Brett and to the entire family. Blessings to you all.

Our sincere condolences to the Bonnell family. We got to meet Mr. Bonnell through our son Andrew who played with the Gower Band for 10 years… Mr and Mrs Bonnell not only instilled a a appreciation of music to band members but also a appreciation of the importance of community service. May he rest in peace

The Band at Gower has lost its founding and guiding ligjht. Other capable hands have taken up the baton but Mr. B will be forever missed.

I was saddened to hear of Mr. Bonnell’s passing. I have fond memories of him from my days in GYB. Deepest condolences to Mark, John, Bruce, Brett, and their families

To all of Edsel’s family and friends,
My late Mother, Faye Eason, always spoke of her cousin Edsel Bonnell, with a huge smile and great love and admiration ,so we as children all got to know who he was. and how important he was in her life.
I was fortunate enough to run into him at the Late Otto Tucker’s wake a few years ago . I introduced myself to him and we had a wonderful chat and got to know each other.
I can tell you it was some good!!
I told him I was named after my late Uncle Granville Eason, Mom’s oldest brother who flew n died in the service of his country with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
Edsell who knew him well, proceeded to tell me a number of poignant stories that morning and I really got to have a new n deep appreciation for him!
When we went to say goodbye after the wake,Edseln smiled shook my hand and looked at me, saying ” we will see you later ,Granville.”
What a special moment that was and as all have said he was truly a special man!
May God Love You Edsel! and May God Bless you all in your hour of sorrow..
Granville Franklyn Hiscock.

I am so saddened to read of Edsel’s passing. I first got to know him in the early 1990s when he was Chief of Staff for Premier Wells and I was a fledgling ADM of Culture, Heritage and Parks for the province. Over the years we worked together Edsel treated me with utmost kindness and respect. He also acted as a mentor while I learned the “bureaucratic ropes”. Though he always demanded a high level of performance (something I loved and appreciated) he was never overbearing or intimidating. His sense of humour always lightened up a difficult day! My deepest condolences to all Edsel’s family and friends. He was man for the ages, and will be missed.

I’m so sorry to hear this. Deepest condolences to the whole family.

It was thanks to Mr. Bonnell’s welcoming and patient attitude that I was able to try percussion, having never played percussion or band music. Having that space in the Gower Band to try something so new was very special.

Mom and Dad spent lots of fun times with Edsel and Anthea when they were in Lady Cove. Many games of cards and laughs! Condolences to all the family. Mark, John, Bruce, Brett cherish all the memories…

We kids were always so welcome at Mr. and Mrs. Bonnell’s home, both in Lady Cove and St. John’s. It was always a treat to hear the boys in the Gower Youth Band and see how passionate Mr. Bonnell was about music and his family. He was a very good man. My deepest condolences to Mark, John, Bruce and Brett and their families.

Mark , John , Bruce and Brett
My sincere condolences to you Lads

So many great memories of your family and summers in Lady Cove.

Deepest condolences to Mr; Bonnells Family.
It was always a joy when the Youth Band under his guidance performed at Gower. His contribution to Gower and the music community in St. John’s is beyond compare. Sincerely Phyllis Beckett

Please accept my heartfelt condolences to the whole Bonnell family. Edsel and I worked together for a short time at the C-NLOPB, and I deeply admired his ability to always know the right way to approach any situation, his dedication to always doing the right thing, and his timely and engaging sense of humour.
All of us who had the privilege of knowing Edsel are saddened at his loss.

Deepest condolences to you all. Your father was indeed a force in the musical world. My mother ( Evelyn Eason) always spoke so highly of her first cousin, Edsell. Thinking of you all at this time.

People touch our lives if only for a moment, And yet we’re not the same from that moment on, The time is not important, The moment is forever.”
Fern Bork

Mark, John, Bruce, Brett and families,
I am so heartbroken for your loss. Da Fly was the most amazing man. I am trying to explain to my spouse how much your Dad meant to me from the time I moved to St. John’s and joined the GYB as a young teen and I am at a loss for words to convey the depth of my love and respect and what a tremendous influence he had over the person I became. My thoughts are with you and the hundreds of other people he has touched over the years. Much love, Kim

Such a beautiful obituary for a kind hearted man. Mark, John, Bruce and Brett, my heart is with you all as you navigate this huge loss. He lived a huge and beautiful life. Sending love and strength to you all.

we have lost a real treasure to the musical world of our “rock”. Thank you Edsel for inspiriing so many young people in your province. i tgreasure my bvrief association with you over the years. S.I.S. (soar in spirit)
heartfelt condolences to all! terry