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Posted: Dec 20, 2021 12:07 PMUpdated: Dec 20, 2021 3:23 PM

Bartlesville Treasure Jim Bohnsack Passes at 61

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Garrett Giles / Tom Davis

A Bartlesville native and treasure passes in Titusville, Florida, surrounded by family, at the age of 61.

Jim Bohnsack, who worked at Arvest (previously known as First National Bank and WestStar), started the Friday Financial Forum in Bartlesville in 1985. Bohnsack led the Forum until he retired from Arvest in September 2018.

Earl Sears currently leads the Forum and says we lost an extremely good man on Friday. Sears says Bohnsack did everything in his power to do what he could to help Bartlesville, and his actions and leadership will be missed. He says Bohnsack was a remarkable individual that lived a remarkable life.

Former Arvest Bartlesville President Donny Story (who serves in the same role in Fayetteville, Arkansas, now) says Bohnsack was one of a kind; Jim was the finest guy Story has ever known. Story says Bohnsack loved deeply and invested in his family, friends and the Bartlesville community. He says he never walked away from a visit with Jim where he didn't feel better. Jim always had a wonderful sense of humor and always wanted to share a laugh and a story with everyone.

Story says Bohnsack will be deeply missed on this earth by all of us, but he rejoices in the fact that he knows Jim is now home with his Heavenly Father in a place where there is no suffering or pain. He says he will surely miss Jim.

Former Oklahoma State Senator John Ford says Bohnsack was a dear friend to him and to all that knew him. Ford says Jim's infectious personality and friendship are some of the things that he and others will never forget. He says Jim truly made a difference in making the Bartlesville community a better place to live and changed the lives of everyone he touched.

Former Arvest Bartlesville President Kyle Hubbard describes Bohnsack as encouraging, positive and unique. Hubbard says he worked with Jim in Bartlesville for 15 years before they moved out of the area. He says Jim brought a lot of joy to employees and customers.

Hubbard says Bohnsack was a mentor for him. He says Jim thought highly of everyone; Jim loved people and the community.

Bohnsack passed on Friday, Dec. 17, in Titusville, Florida, surrounded by family. He went to be with Jesus in Heaven. 

Most of Bohnsack's life was spent in Bartlesville. Bohnsack was born in Bartlesville on January 18, 1960. He attended Garfield Elementary School, Central Junior High, and College High before attending and graduating from the University of Oklahoma.

Bohnsack saw Arvest become what it is today, but it all started when he returned to Bartlesville and the bank was still called First National Bank. The name changed to WestStar Bank over time before it eventually became known as Arvest Bank. And again, Bohnsack started the Friday Financial Forum at Arvest in 1985. Bohnsack led the program until he retired in Sept. 2018. His tradition is still carried out today by Earl Sears. 

Arvest Chairman Jim Walton came to Bohnsack's retirement at Arvest Bank in Bartlesville, 4225 SE Adams Road, all those years ago (pictured above and right). Bohnsack was honored for his longtime service to the Bartlesville community and through Arvest Bank. In fact, Jim led the Forum series for 33 years.

Chairman Walton gave a plaque to Bohnsack for his work. Bohnsack also received a citation of recognition from the State of Oklahoma. Bartlesville Mayor Dale Copeland would go on to declare Sept. 14, 2018, as Jim Bohnsack Day. Mayor Copeland announced that the City of Bartlesville would name the extension of Shawnee Avenue at Bartlesville High School as Jim Bohnsack Avenue. 

Bohnsack led several bond issues for Bartlesville Public Schools and the City of Bartlesville. He was happy to lead and see these issues pass. One of the bond issues revolved around the construction of the police station at 615 S. Johnstone Avenue.

Bohnsack was renowned for community involvment. Bohnsack served as a member of the Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and he was the President of Bartlesville Daybreak Rotary. He even led the "Bartlesville Unstoppable" rally when Phillips Petroleum merged with ConocoPhillips. He attended the Friday Men's Bible Study most Friday's, too.

The Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce awarded Bohnsack with the Frank Phillips Award during one of their annual galas. The presentation of the Frank Phillips Award honors an individual or company for their outstanding contributions of time, energy and talents to Bartlesville's economic and community development efforts. Bohnsack was proud of this award. 

Jim was also particularly proud to receive the Silver Sow Award in 2018 (pictured left). The Silver Sow award went to Bohnsack because he always loved giving news tips to KWON AM 1400, FM 93.3.

Bohnsack loved Bartlesville, especially the downtown life. He loved Oklahoma Sooner football and space rockets.

Jim (pictured below in his Bartlesville Unstoppable t-shirt) is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Denise, and their sons Bryan and Barry. They are all originally from Bartlesville, but currently reside in Titusville, Florida.

Some of Jim's last words were quoting John 3:16. Bohnsack was surrounded by family to the very end. He will be greatly missed by the Bartlesville community.

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