Bonita (Bonnie) Lesselyong Malmstone, passed away quite suddenly yet peacefully on March 14, 2023 while bravely battling COPD for many years. She was born August 6, 1921 in Ironwood, Michigan, daughter of parents Edward and Theresa Lesselyong. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband of 71 years, Blesch (Bud) Malmstone and all her siblings Frank, Jane and John, and her grandson, Ryan Ferryman. She is survived by her loving daughters and son, Mary Ferryman (Jim), Frank Malmstone (DeeDee), Sally Sweetman (John), Barbara Laing (Greg), and Nancy Smith (Doug) She also had great affection for her nieces and nephews, had 11 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren. She was the true matriarch of our family and lived longer than any other Lesselyong or Malmstone descendant to date.
Bonnie grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and would always tell stories about all the fun they had jumping from the 2nd story of their house into the massive snowbanks below. Mom loved to discuss the long, long walk in the snow traveling to school each day as well!
She attended Luther Wright High School, worked for the Ironwood Daily Globe and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Home Economics. She loved being an Alpha Chi Omega sorority girl and that great social spirit lived on in Bonnie until she passed. She met her husband, Bud at MSU and they were married in December of 1944.
They lived in various cities in their life, with Roanoke, Virginia being very remarkable as they began life as parents, when they had their first child, Mary. Mom and Dad then made the move to Wayland, Michigan where Dad took over the the Malmstone clothing store from his parents. Then along came Frank, Sally and Barbara, adding to the growing Malmstone clan. They made a great decision in 1961, when they traded up their snow and ice for sunny Arizona to join Mom’s sister, Jane Baker and her family. Nancy, her youngest child was born in Arizona.
Bonnie had an amazing sense of humor with the most contagious laugh! Once she began to tell a story, her incredible wit came into play and it was game on! She didn’t miss a beat! She always loved a party or get together to enjoy friends and family. She loved boating in both Michigan and Arizona. We had many great times at the lake for sure and especially when we had zero air conditioning while driving home! Mom enjoyed golf plus good times playing bridge over the years. She developed some wonderful relationships and had so many memories in her long life. She loved living at McDowell Village and was very fond of so many of the residents and caregivers she met there. She always told us we had chosen the right place for her.
Mom was kind, generous and compassionate. She so often asked others where they lived, how many people in their family, and how their day was going. She often took the attention away from herself and had the ability to make the other people feel that they were the most important person in the world.
Mom loved her life and most importantly, her children. She was such a great example to us every single day. She was a pillar of strength, even in some of the worst times of her life. She hardly ever complained, and always put a smile on her face with such a positive attitude. She was quite a legend to all of us. She did everything with such elegance and grace. We are so incredibly proud to call her our Mom.
Bonnie will be desperately missed by all of those she left behind. She may have been 101 ½ but she was sharp until the end and will always be remembered for being so young at heart.
She will always and forever be Beautiful Bonita to all her family and friends. May you rest in peace our dear, wonderful Mom and friend.
Celebration of Life Service and Reception will be held at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix AZ, on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 11AM. A private burial will be held at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.
I used to love our visits with Aunt Bonnie and Bud, then just Bonnie whenever we came to visit in Phoenix. I guess I’m now the second oldest living Lesselyong. I’m very sorry we can’t make it there for her service; but we will be thinking of you all from here.
Dear Frank, DeeDee and family,
Tim and I were sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. She had a wonderful, full life though and I know you were proud of her. She will be missed but you have so many good memories of her that she will live forever in your heart.
Please know that we are thinking of you and your family at this time and sending prayers to give you strength through this difficult time. Love, Tim and Celeste Robb