Bobby (BJ) Bond passed away at home with his family on Saturday, November 28, 2020. BJ was born on February 6, 1927 in Symsonia, KY, to Rosie (Whitt) and Louis D. Bond. He graduated from Augusta Tilghman High School in 1945. During his senior year, B.J. received notification that he had been drafted into the Army. His principal helped him obtain a deferment so he could complete the school year before reporting for service. B.J. was slated to be sent to the Pacific theatre in September, 1945, upon completion of basic training. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, and with the official end of the war on September 2, 1945, B.J. was assigned to a MP Battalion and sent to North Africa for occupational duty for the next 18 months.
Upon his return to Paducah, BJ enrolled in Murray State University (then known as Murray State College) where he attended from 1947-1949. He then attended Airline school and subsequently worked for Eastern Airlines in Nashville, TN. In 1950, the Korean War began, and BJ once again was notified that he was to report for active duty. He was sent to Seattle, WA and sent by ship to Korea, where he served until receiving his final discharge in August 1951 at Camp Breckenridge, KY (near Morganfield). BJ once again returned to his home in Paducah and briefly worked in the loan business until he obtained employment at the newly opened Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in February 1952, where he worked for the next 40 years before retiring in April 1992. BJ was very active in union activities at the PGDP. From his first position as a union steward, BJ became increasingly active in union activities at the plant, and served in multiple capacities along the way, eventually becoming President of his union local (OCAW 3550). He then branched out to regional union activities and was President of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council for 20 years. The Area Council was responsible for the construction of the Jackson House Apartments and the W.B. Sanders Retirement Center in Paducah, where BJ was a charter member of the Board of Directors for both facilities. He also helped form the West KY Labor Management Committee, whose purpose was to promote better relations between labor and management. In 1975, BJ was instrumental in the effort to revive the Labor Day Parade and festivities in Paducah. For many years, the Labor Day celebration was a big event that started included the annual parade and Labor Day picnic for food, political speeches and a flea market at Carson Park, then later at Noble Park. The Paducah Labor Day celebration was recognized as the premier Labor Day event by the state of Kentucky. BJ served as Grand Marshall of the Labor Day Parade in 1996. A mural commemorating the Parade is immortalized on the floodwall in downtown Paducah, and BJ is featured near the center in the mural which features a rendition of an actual photo of the Labor Day parade. The mural is located just past the steam engine which sits at the Water Street and Kentucky Avenue. The Western KY Area Council spearheaded a campaign for funds to obtain the steam engine to commemorate the passage of the Steam Age, and the heritage of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad shops in Paducah. Originally located in what was then Barkley Park, the engine was moved after being displaced when the Executive Inn was built on that site. It was a large undertaking to move the engine, with approximately 70 people volunteering their time for the move in an effort to preserve this valuable piece of Paducah history. BJ had a keen interest in his community as well as in local and state politics. He was an active volunteer for the McCracken County United Way, serving on the Board of Directors. He served on the McCracken County Democratic Executive Committee for many years. He is a two-time Kentucky Colonel, and a Duke of Paducah.
On April 25, 2017, BJ was honored by being selected as one of the Veterans to fly to Washington DC from Marion, Illinois for the day on the inaugural Honor Flight, trip to Washington DC to visit memorials that honor Veterans for their service and sacrifice. BJ enjoyed socializing at lunch each weekday at the McCracken County Senior Center and breakfast every Saturday at Mel’s Diner. BJ was a kind and honorable man, whose generosity, honesty and integrity were obvious to all who knew him. He will be greatly missed by all.
BJ was married for 59 ½ years to the former Betty Bryant, who preceded him in death on Dec. 31, 2012. He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Billy and Louis “June” Bond, and two sisters, Christine Smith and Neatra Story.
He is survived by three children, daughter and son-in-law, Debra and Charles Shears of Paducah; son, Mark Bond of Carlisle, KY; son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Sarah Bond of Spring Hill, TN; grandchildren Amanda Shears-Eisner of Paducah, Jennifer Shears-Teixeira of Oakland, CA and Breeland and Matthew Bond of Spring Hill, TN; great grandchildren, Emmalee Eisner of Paducah and Riley and Merrit Teixeira of Oakland, CA, and several nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to long-time caregivers Laura McElhaney and Brenda Ramage, as well as April Bond, Elsie Eisenberg and Marsha Parker and the staff at Brightmore Home Care.
Private funeral services will be held later this week.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the McCracken County Senior Center (270-443-8579) or to the Clark’s River Cemetery Fund at Regions Bank
Lindsey Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. On-line condolences may be left at www.lindseyfuneral.com
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