Grace Ethel Bonard Tharp, age 96 of Fulton, passed away Friday, June 24, 2011, at Fulton Manor Care Center, surrounded by her loving family. Our dear and loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and devoted friend joins her mate of 72 years, Westwood Tharp in eternal peace in Heaven. She also joins her firstborn son, Robert Wesley Tharp; sisters, Helen Bonard McPherson and Mary Katherine Payne; brothers, John William Bonard, Maurice Bonard and Woodrow Bonard; and many friends of years gone by. Grace is survived by one daughter, Sandra Fritz and husband Ronald of Fulton; and one son, Bennie Tharp and wife Shirley of Kingdom City. Also surviving are eight grandchildren, Lori Teel of Kingdom City, Mary Grace Tharp of Fulton, Kevin Fritz of St. Louis, Douglas Fritz of Columbia, James Tharp of Columbia, Tamara Pann of Great Falls, Va., Teresa Puckett of Ashland, and Tina James of Columbia. Also surviving is one brother, Tommie Bonard and his wife Nancy of Kaiser; 12 great-grandchildren, Benjamin Kratz, Ted Fritz, Brittaney Huddleston, Lindsey and Devon Teel, Hailey Salmons, Jesse Wright, Nicholas and Ethan Pann, Brian and Kristen James and Amanda Teel; four great-grandchildren, Xzvaire Neal, Jadynn and Conner Huddleston and Caden Teel; and several very special nieces, nephews and cousins. Grace was born on September 17, 1914, the second child and first daughter of William Burt Bonard and Christina Miller Bonard. She grew up with six siblings on a farm in the Central Community west of Fulton. She attended Central School for one year and finished her education at Sunrise School, both one room school houses. She walked to school with her brothers and sisters across their grandparent’s farm pastures and sometimes rode a horse to get there. She loved her life on the farm with her family and talked often of the work they did and the cooking lessons she learned from her mother and grandmother. Grace was a wonderful cook all her life and loved to fix meals and desserts for her family. In addition to being a wonderful cook, she enjoyed and made many beautiful items of embroidery. After her family moved into the city limits in the 1920s, on West Seventh Street, she met the love of her life, Westwood Russell Tharp, who was her neighbor first and then sweetheart and husband. They married on December 23, 1933, in Jefferson City, in the midst of the Great Depression. Westwood went to work at International Shoe Company, and, at that time, they never complained of the hard times. They worked hard and were careful with their money and continued that way of life for the rest of their lives. In the 1950s, Mom cared for children in their home. She loved children and took wonderful care of each and every one, caring for them as if they were her own. In 1960, she went to work at Missouri School for the Deaf and retired 20 years later. She and Dad shared a love of God and faith and became lifelong members of First Baptist Church in the early 1950s. Mom saw to it that her three children attended Sunday School and be taught how to live Christian lives. During their retirement, Westwood and Grace camped and fished at Bennett Springs State Park, often taking their grandchildren with them. Grace spoiled us all and those days are some of the happiest memories we each have - memories etched in our hearts and minds forever. Grace was a giving and loving person who often visited elderly friends and family in their homes, taking them delicious homemade food. She showered the grandkids with clothing and delicious snacks and homemade goodies. She never thought about herself first; she always put others first. Funeral services will be held at Debo Funeral Home in Fulton at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, with Pastor Bruce Williamson officiating. Interment will follow at Callaway Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 p.m. Monday, June 27, at the funeral home. In lieu of customary memorials, the family suggests memorial donations be made in Grace’s name to First Baptist Church, c/o Debo Funeral Home, P.O. Box 818, Fulton, MO 65251. Her family wants to thank each of you at Fulton Manor for the wonderful and loving care she received for the last five years. We are so grateful for your care, love and compassion she received every day. May God bless each of you each and every day of your lives.
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