Mr. Frank Austin Bonds Sr. was born on April 23, 1934 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Clifford Bonds and Ruby McElwain Bonds. The Bonds family was a large family; Frank Sr. had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. They resided and were raised in a neighborhood on the northwest side of Indianapolis with close knit ties to their first cousins, The McElwains, Campbells and Reynolds families.
Frank was baptized at an early age at Campbell Chapel AME Zion Church that was founded by his great- grandfather. Later, he again rededicated his life to Christ at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church. where his late wife, Anita was an active member. Frank was a believer, who demonstrates Christian values by the way he treated others throughout his 84 years.
Frank’s formal education began at School #42 and Crispus Attucks High School. Per his children and grandchildren, whenever he would ride by School #42 he would say, “that was the building that I would go straight through the front door and right out the back.” He constantly preached to his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and co-workers how important getting and having an education was.
Frank’s father Clifford installed the ethics of hard work in him and his brothers early. Frank began working at Champ and Garland Coal Company at the tender age of 13 so that he could help provide for his family. His great work ethic, leadership, laborer and operational skills spanned his career of over 50 years with him being a laborer, operator and a foreman for Asphalt Servicing, Grady Brothers and ACE Paving. During his career he hired and trained his son, brother, cousins, and nephews to follow in his footsteps lying asphalt; something he enjoyed and was dedicated to. He is noted as always saying “IF YOU DON’T WORK, YOU DON’T EAT” he lived by these words.
Frank’s work ethics is further demonstrated by his entrepreneurial skills of selling vegetables, and fruit on the weekends. He instilled his entrepreneurial spirit in both his daughter “Cookie” and granddaughter Nicki.
Frank was introduced to his first wife, Lilly Mae Dillard by his sister Barbra, and immediately fell in love. Lilly was accepted by the Bonds family and became a favorite at family gatherings. From this union, three children were born, Frank Jr. “Chucky”, Melaine “Cookie” and Yolanda “Yogi”. This union ended in divorce but they remained loving parents and friends until Lillie Mae passed away in 2014.
Frank loved the institution of love and marriage, and had four other marriages. He loved the idea of family and embraced his step-children as his own, and they remained in each other’s lives until his last days.
He possessed a personality that was larger than life. Frank was a conversationalist that could keep the party going, while roasting a pig all night with his buddies, discussing the Chicago Bears and Colts, family stories from the past, detailing his trips to California, Las Vegas and the Casino, watching TMC, his voice commanded your attention. He was resilient about life and took adverse situations that were lemons for others; and turned them to lemonade. Being the patriarch of a large clan, he maintained relationships with each and EVERY ONE of the Bonds offspring. Family reunions were important to Frank. He had NEVER MISSED one since 1956.
On March 6, 2019, Mr. Frank Austin Bonds Sr. was called home to be with his maker and to join his loved ones who went on before him. Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Anita; son, Frank Jr. and daughter-in-law, Collette; granddaughter, Shawnita; parents, Clifford and Ruby Bonds, brothers, Clifford II, William “Billy” Norman, and James; sisters, Debbie and Barbara.
Frank is survived by his loving daughters, Melaine “Cookie” Odle (David), Yolanda Bonds “Yogi”; grandchildren, Nicole Wheeler, Henry (Dinita) Wheeler, Nasheika Bonds, Tamika Wheeler, Sterlin Bonds and Robert Bonds; great-grandchildren, Andre’ Warren, Kaila Davis, Lazarus Sinclair Warren and Kylin Payton.
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