Dr. Rose Mary Hatem Bonsack passed away peacefully in her home on September 27th, 2020 surrounded by loving family. Dr. Bonsack, a devoted wife, is survived by her husband of 63 years, James Bonsack, her daughter Dr. Jeanette Bonsack and her husband David Beard, her daughter Karen Bonsack, P.T, her son Dr. Thomas Bonsack and wife Kelly, and her son James Joseph Bonsack and wife Carrie, as well as nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her brothers Thomas J. Hatem and Dr. Frederick Hatem along with her son David Bonsack.
Rose Mary was born on October 24th, 1933 in Havre de Grace, Maryland to Joseph and Nasma Hatem. She was proud of being a third generation Lebanese American. She graduated from Havre de Grace High School, and cum laude from Washington College. She started her medical education at the University of Maryland where she was one of two women in a class of 98. She finished her medical degree at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania where she had two children while attending school. She resided in Harford County, Maryland for most of her life, practicing as a Medical Doctor and later serving in the Maryland Legislature.
Dr. Bonsack lived a full and accomplished life, and family was always most important to her. She enjoyed cooking Lebanese food, dancing the dabke, watching tennis, playing cards, and travelling. She was happiest when hosting birthday parties and crab feasts for her friends and family. Dr. Bonsack’s love of meeting and greeting new people was rooted in her upbringing while her family ran the family store, the House of Bargains in Havre De Grace.
Dr. Bonsack served as Chief of Clinics at Kirk Army Hospital on Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. She worked for the Harford County Health Department in several medical positions. She was on the Board of Directors at the Mann house for 10 years and served as the President for 2 years. She was the Medical Director at Ashley Rehabilitation Center in Havre de Grace, MD. She served on the Board of Medical Examiners of Maryland and was the Executive Secretary of the Board of Physician Quality Assurance. She was a member of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians and served as its first female president in 1988. She was a member of the Harford County Medical Society and served as their first female president. She was a member and Director of the American Academy of Family Practitioners. She was a member of the House of Delegates to MedChi. She was the president of the Northern MD Heart Association and on the Board of the Cancer Society of Maryland.
In 1991, Dr. Bonsack was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where she represented Harford County on multiple committees until 1999. She went on to serve on the Board of Trustees at Harford Community College, the Medical Advisory Board of the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles, the Board of Directors of St. Joan of Arc School, the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College, the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen, MD, President of the Harford County Medical Society, Committee Chairman of the Medical Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and a member of the Cal Ripken Foundation Board.
Dr. Bonsack was deeply involved with the John Carroll School as she was the Chairperson and a trustee emeritus. She was very committed to the concept of a Catholic education where she felt discipline was necessary for a good education.
Throughout her lifetime, Dr. Bonsack was honored to receive numerous awards, including those from Havre de Grace High School Hall of Fame, The Washington College Alumni Citation for Excellence in Medicine and Public Service, Maryland’s Top 100 Women, The Lifetime Achievement Award of the Maryland Academy of Family Practitioners, and others from the US Army, the State of Maryland, the Maryland Cancer Society, the University of Maryland, the American Medical Association, and the Maryland Optometric Association. She was also honored as a Harford Living Treasure in her later years. Of all her accolades she was most proud of raising her five children.
Dr. Bonsack managed to balance a fulfilling career path, a full family life, and the demands wrought on a public servant. Her legacy is one of dedication that demands respect, admiration and most of all, emulation for generations to come. In her own words she was “just a woman proving that devotion to family, hard work and the love of mankind are more than just catchy phrases.”
Funeral services and burial will be provided by Zellman Funeral Home in Havre de Grace, MD, and will be limited to family. Memorials and condolences may be left on the website at www.zellmanfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, friends and family may make a contribution in her memory to the John Carroll School, 703 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21014
A Facebook livestream of the funeral Mass will be available on Friday, October 2, 2020 at 10:30 A.M. at the Zellman Funeral Home, P.A. Facebook page.
A Celebration of Life is being planned for a later date, and those interested in being notified should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org