Cover photo for Bonum Sams Wilson, Jr.'s Obituary
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Bonum Sams Wilson, Jr.

February 25, 1936 — May 30, 2024

Bonum Sams Wilson, Jr.

Bonum Sams Wilson, Jr., 88, of Charleston, South Carolina, husband of Janet Buckheister Wilson, entered into eternal rest on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Born on February 25, 1936 in Thomasville, Georgia, the son of the late Bonum S. Wilson and Ann Sheffield Wilson, Bonum was raised on James Island at Lawton Bluff and Riverland Terrace, and it was while delivering daily papers in the latter neighborhood that he met Janet, the love of his life. 

A strong student, Bonum graduated from Charleston High School in 3 years and went on to Clemson, with help from a Post and Courier scholarship. He was captain of the Clemson swim team, and married Janet in his senior year. Graduating in 1957 from what was then an all-male military school, Bonum served as a captain in the United States Army before moving north to pursue a career in ceramic engineering with Carborundum Co. and starting a family. Hired as an engineer, he soon became the youngest division head of the company. His ceramics team developed the first protective body and helicopter seat armor that saved the lives of many serving in southeast Asia. He also attended MIT (Sloan School) in Cambridge, MA. Rising through the ranks of management at Carborundum, Bonum would complete his 27-year career with 3 ½ years in Mexico City as Group Vice-President for Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Relationships from those years lasted his lifetime. 

Bonum retired from corporate life in 1984, returning to Charleston to devote time and energy to family, venture capital projects, church, and community service. He was a founder and Board member of Community First Bank, founder and chairman of the Board of Fresh Start Visions, a prison ministry, long- time member and President of the Exchange Club of Charleston, founder and Charter President of the Exchange Club Foundation, created to further member's financial contributions to the local community, recipient of the club's Andrew Award and Book of Golden Deeds in 2021, and Board member of Bishop Gadsen during its major construction expansion.

Equally content at the symphony or holding a rod and reel of any size, he could turn out perfect waffles and mix a mean Manhattan. We cannot recall a single position or task for which called upon by his church that was not accepted or accomplished with enthusiasm. Although, had he been asked to teach art classes- highly unlikely- the outcome would have been questionable. The family's widespread amusement at playing Pictionary with Bonum was tempered by his skill and revenge at playing Monopoly and Gin Rummy. 

Bonum held a faith in Jesus Christ that was marked by humility, compassion, generosity, and love. Foundational to his faith was the assurance he had in the face of trials and difficulties, giving him the strength to help others along on their pilgrimage. He never, not once, failed to attribute the skills, opportunities, and blessings he received to his Savior, Jesus Christ. There are no others more able to testify to his love than those he loved dearly, his family. In addition to his wife, Janet, of almost 68 years, Bonum is survived by two sons, Bonum Sams Wilson, I (Jeannette), Christopher Hunt Wilson (Michele), and daughter, Janet Elizabeth Hanger; a sister Dana Sheffield; eight grandchildren, Jenkins Wilson, Sams Wilson (Taryn), Anna Wilson (Preston), Phillip Wilson, Sarah Wilson, Clara Hanger, Lauren Hanger, Michael Hanger, and one great-grandchild, Cosmos Slaybaugh. He was predeceased in death by his son-in -law Jonathan Hanger, who is deeply missed.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2024 at St. James Episcopal Church, 1872 Camp Road at 11:30 am. Interment will follow in the churchyard. Arrangements are by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Memorials may be made to the Exchange Club of Charleston Foundation or St. James Anglican Church.

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Upcoming Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Starts at 11:30 am (Eastern time)

St. James Episcopal Church

1872 Camp Rd, Charleston, SC 29412

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