In Memory

Barbara Stelzner (Bonaventure)

Pancreatic cancer October 27, 2011

Submitted by Judy Dennison Wolferts

BARBARA BONAVENTURE was born Barbara Stelzner in Augsburg, Germany, March 22, 1947. Barbara emigrated to Canada with her father, Hans Stelzner, a classical musician, and her mother, Gertrud Stelzner, nee Schipfel, a pediatric nurse, when she was five, and then, five years later, to Las Vegas. Barbara graduated from Las Vegas High School and from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Barbara was legendary for her joy in life, a joy that she bestowed on all who knew her. She was devoted to the love of her life, her husband of 37 years, Joseph T. Bonaventure; and to their sons, Joseph M. Bonaventure and Santino "Sonny" Bonaventure.  She and her sister, Ursula, were inseparable partners in their lifes' adventure.

Barbara was a master gardner and a trained classical chef, who habitually hosted large gatherings of family and friends, to the great pleasure of all, and often for no other reason than to give them the pleasure of each other's company. She was one of those rare persons of whom it could honestly be said that everyone who knew her loved her, a response to the love that she had for all. She was always the first to offer help when needed and true friendship at all times. She made everyone feel as if he or she was her best friend.

Barbara also loved animals. She rescued a number of feral cats, using humane traps, having them receive vaccinations and having them spayed or neutered, and returning them to her neighborhood. Some of the cats returned to her door to be fed for years after. She also had and loved a number of dogs over the years. Barbara regularly took Jake, the current family dog, to the dog park to play with his friends, and, true to her nature, became dear friends with the other dog park habitues.

Barbara passed away peacefully, while in the bosom of her family, after a sudden illness, in Las Vegas, Oct. 27, 2011. She is survived by her husband, Senior District Judge Joseph T. Bonaventure; her sons, Judge Joseph M. Bonaventure and Santino "Sonny" Bonaventure, Esq.; her sister, Ursula Stelzner-O'Neale; and a network of family and friends too numerous to recount. She continues to glow in all our memories.

Memorial services were held at Palm Mortuary-Northwest, 6701 N. Jones Blvd., Las Vegas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Adopt a Rescue Pet, 1500 E. Tropicana Ave., #105, Las Vegas, NV 89119 or to The Public Education Foundation, 3360 W. Sahara Ave., #160, Las Vegas, NV 89102.

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