Bonnie Kelsay Waggy


Bonnie Kelsay Waggy, of Charleston, WV, passed away with family at her side on March 11, 2020 after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease. 

Born in 1935 to the late Robert B and Irene Kelsay in Williamson, WV, she was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved husband of 57 years, Gene Thomas Waggy, in 2012. 

She is survived by her daughter, Sharon Waggy of Charleston, WV; her son, Todd (Melissa) Waggy of Lewisburg, WV; brother Don (Karen) Kelsay, of Lexington, KY; brother-in-law James (Joan) Waggy of Charleston, WV; numerous nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.

She graduated from Williamson High School, where she played varsity basketball. Bonnie received her Bachelor’s of Education, with a minor in Religion, from Morris Harvey College. She completed post-graduate work in Special Education. Bonnie grew up knowing she wanted to be a teacher. She taught students who were unable to attend school in a regular classroom setting for a variety of reasons, including significant illness or injury. Mom gave of herself to her vocation, enriched the lives of people she worked with and her life was in turn enriched by those she touched.

Bonnie was born during the depression and raised in the coalfields of West Virginia. While her father always had work, the family did not have excess money. However, the children developed a strong sense of trust, knowing they were loved. Her dream of becoming a teacher was realized when Dr. Riggleman and A.W. Cox visited Williamson to recruit students for Morris Harvey and offered her a scholarship and a job. Bonnie and Gene met at Morris Harvey College and married in 1955. Cognizant of Bonnie’s origins, and upon retirement, Gene and Bonnie endowed a scholarship at Morris Harvey to give the gift of education to others.

For many years Bonnie was active in the life of Village Chapel Presbyterian Church. Bonnie was a dedicated mother who treasured her children and embraced every moment with them. She nourished her children’s curiosity and enriched their lives with trips to the beach, Bluestone Camp, “out west” and National Parks, among others. She was a second mother to many of her children’s friends over the years. There was always room for another at the table.

She had a deep connection to her roots. Hearing the sound of a train whistle, she would fondly recall her father’s work on the N&W Railroad in Mingo County. Bonnie had a special talent for making strangers into friends, welcoming people and bringing folks together for parties at her home. She was known for her infectious laugh and brilliant smile, which lit up the room. She will be dearly missed and live on fondly in our hearts.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Julie DeTemple and her staff, especially Rose and Terana; Dr. Darshan Dave and his staff; and Dr. Julie Haddy and her staff for their excellent care of Bonnie. Their kindness and gentle care were so appreciated. Additionally, the third floor west CAMC Memorial nursing staff were such a comfort to Bonnie and the family during her more recent illness.

Due to the health threat from the Coronavirus, the family has decided to postpone Bonnie’s “Celebration of Life” until the threat has passed. There will be a private interment service Saturday, March 21, 2020. The family will publish details on the “Celebration of Life” when it can be safely rescheduled. Opportunities for charitable memorials will be provided at that time.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.

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