Obituary of Audrey Bonawitz
Audrey Ann Bonawitz
Age 84, died on Oct. 1 in Forest Hills. Audrey died of an illness mere days after moving into assisted living — a place she never, ever wanted to go. But that's a prime example of how she did things her way. She now rests peacefully beside her mother, Eleanor, at Calvary Cemetery.
Apart from Audrey's unique brand of independence, her sharp sense of humor will be sorely missed. Audrey always joked that she faced death many years ago when she had car accident in town. As she was rear-ended, her wig popped off, looking like a decapitation to the man that hit her. The terrified driver ran to Audrey's car to make sure she was OK — she never tired of recounting how hilarious this was.
Audrey's humility and acerbic wit were second to none. Making fun of her Polish heritage was in her DNA. There exists a photo of Audrey — with her helmet of June Cleaver hair — and her two young nieces standing fully clothed inside a minivan-sized pair of underwear they purchased at the Five and Dime, just for the goofy photo opp.
Known as the cool aunt, she'd entertain her nieces and nephew in the summers with trips to the birthplace of the Klondike bar, roller coaster rides at Kennywood, and a visit to the drive-in. That one time the car's battery died after the movie, the kids learned some choice new curse words.
Audrey never married — though she did say "No, thanks" to one wedding proposal — and took great pride in the home she purchased herself and her beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. In another life, "good lookin'" Terry Bradshaw would have proposed marriage and she would have accepted. He was just her type, she'd say.
She grew up on Hunter Street and graduated from Wilkinsburg High School. She worked as an executive secretary at Mellon Bank and Koppers before retiring young because she wanted to enjoy life.
She cared for several devoted felines, including Tiger, who, as she joked, did in fact exist even though the family never laid eyes on her (she hid under the basement steps). With a green rotary phone still in operation in her kitchen, Audrey would openly admit she was not a creature of change. She never forgot to send a birthday card. And loved being home.
Her heartbroken friends and family will miss her hilarious one-liners — like that time she accidentally hit her Life Alert button and woke to a couple of hunky firemen standing in her bedroom. "I thought I'd died and gone to heaven," she later joked.
Audrey was the loving aunt of Lisa Dreshler (deceased), Ken Bonawitz, Charleen Thompson and Amy Jamieson. She is also survived by stepsister June Ortmann, wife of Leonard Ortmann (deceased), and nieces Patty Roger, wife of Dennis Roger, Kathy Steigerwald, wife of Kurt Steigerwald, and MaryAnn Rice, wife of Edward Rice. Her brother, Hal Bonawitz, who died in 2019, is no doubt happy to see her again.
Arrangements entrusted to the Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, Inc. 7441 Washington Street Swissvale, PA 15218 www.niedfuneralhome.com