Worcester – Robert O. “Bob” Bonin, 80 of Worcester, former owner of The Ground Round in Shrewsbury, peacefully passed away at home on Sunday, May 26, 2013, with his loving wife of 16years, Ann H. (Graybill) Bonin, by his side.
Bob is survived by a step-daughter, Kimberly Crowley and her husband Patrick of West Boylston; a step-son, Jason Townsend of Rochester, New Hampshire; a nephew, Richard Stanton of Shrewsbury; five grandchildren, Meghan, Leah, Jack, Elisabeth and Madison. Bob was pre-deceased by his brother, Richard Bonin and his sister, Irene Stanton.
He was born in Worcester, son of the late James and Rose (Bousquet) Bonin and has lived here all his life. He graduated in 1951, from the former Classical High School; he then graduated from Boston University in 1955, with a degree in Public Relations.
Bob's life was the restaurant hospitality business, he worked with his family at the former Howard Johnson Restaurant in Shrewsbury, later taking the reins, converting the brand and operating the ever popular Ground Round in Shrewsbury. Bob brought Ann into the business and the two of them enjoyed hosting people from near and far, with good food, good drink, but more importantly the good times of friendship, laughter and conversation.
Bob was involved in many restaurant associations, Les Amis D’Escoffier Society, the American Institute of Wine and Food, National Restaurant Association, Hall of Fame, President of the Food and Beverage Society of Greater Boston, Governor and Vice President of the Plaza Club in Worcester, the Worcester County Chefs Association, and he served on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association where he was awarded the Massachusetts Restauranteur of the Year in 2002.
He had the opportunity to become involved in local, state and national politics. He was the Chairman to re-elect Joseph D. Early from 1974-1990, he served on the Worcester Board of Health and served as Chairman of the Worcester Airport Commission.
Bob was honored as the Shrewsbury Democratic Party Businessman of the Year in 2004 and was appointed to the State of Massachusetts Liquor Liability Authority.
He was a proud member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, achieving the rank of First Sergeant. He was a member and President of the Worcester Harmony Club, Shrewsbury Kiwanis Club, Shrewsbury Council of the Knights of Columbus, and the Boston Turnpike Business Association.
He was a member of the Church Council at Notre Dame des Canadiens and served as a trustee at Assumption College in Worcester, where a dining room is named in his honor.
Bob loved life to the fullest enjoying theatre, concerts and most importantly time with his friends. Planning pranks with his “A Team buddies” which on one occasion resulted in national TV reporting a cow running loose on Salisbury Street.
His greatest joy was to be host extraordinaire planning parties and gatherings of friends – never wanting an evening to end he always insisted on “One and Done.”
The family would like to thank the VNA Care Hospice for the great care and compassion given to Bob in his last months, especially Giselle.
Calling hours for Bob will be held Friday, May 31, from 4 to 7 p.m., in Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation St., Worcester. His funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m., in The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, on the campus of Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St., Worcester. (Kindly proceed directly to the chapel.)
Instead of flowers, some may wish to make contribution in his memory to VNA Care Hospice, 120 Thomas St., Worcester, MA 01609.
For directions or to leave a message of condolence, please visit www.mercadantefuneral.com.