Cover photo for Lionel "Chris" Bostwick's Obituary
Lionel "Chris" Bostwick Profile Photo
1938 Lionel 2023

Lionel "Chris" Bostwick

March 5, 1938 — June 7, 2023


Lionel Carlyle Bostwick (Chris) of Ponca, Nebraska rode off into the sunset of life on June 7, 2023 at the age of 85. Chris was born the oldest of six children to Hugh and Adelene (Nelson) Bostwick in Maskell Nebraska.


There will be a memorial gathering and sharing at the Ponca Rodeo Grounds Sunday June 11th  beginning at 5 pm. Funeral services will be held at Ponca United Methodist Church on Monday June 12th at 10 am. Visitation with the family 9-10. Lunch will be served at the Ponca Community center with Interment following at the Maskell cemetery.  The service may be live streamed at Fwd: (


After graduating from High School in Maskell Chris faithfully served our country in the US Army for 3 years. He returned to Maskell and married Nancy Keller. To that union, a daughter, Lynnel, was born, and later a son, Chad, was added to their family.


After a year or two of various jobs, Chris roped in a job with Swift, Inc. where he was a successful salesman of edible oils. He traveled much and mostly served the state of South Dakota and western Iowa. In those years, they made their home in Mason City IA, Mobridge SD, Mitchell SD and eventually in Sioux Falls SD. Chris earned a promotion to Swift’s corporate offices in Chicago Ill, but after a year, he realized he would rather raise his young children in the area closer to where he grew up and they relocated to Ponca NE where he operated “The bowling alley” (Centennial Lanes) for several years, owned a derailment company with his brothers, (Midwest Derailment) and then worked at Day’s Door Company as a salesman. During this time Nancy lost her battle with cancer, Chris was blessed to find a new soulmate and wife in Bonnie (Backman) Jones. They were married for 30 years before she passed in 2018.


Chris became very involved in the Ponca community. He served with the Ponca fire and rescue squad, helped start the Ducks Unlimited Chapter and was instrumental in the development of Highland Oaks Golf course. Most notably, for 30+ years, he served as the manager of the “Ponca Days of 56” Rodeo. Chris had an unmatched dedication and love for the rodeo. The event grew more successful each year. He would be quick to add that he had a good group of helpers on the committee, and that the rodeo takes much more than just one person to run it. If he wasn’t busy with the rodeo, Chris might be found at the river fishing or duck hunting.


Chris was a long-time member of the Methodist Church in Ponca.


Chris loved hearing about his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. His family tree, combined with Bonnie’s, became very large, but he was always able to keep everyone straight and had each birthday written on his calendar. In his later years, Chris enjoyed hearing about what was going on in the community and watching non-stop rodeo on TV. He was always up for a card game too! Chris had a wry sense of humor and loved to tease when he got the chance. One of the last cognitive actions was to point at a nurse and smile when asked if he had any pain.

After battling with ill health for the past 2 ½ years, this big and strong wrangler was well cared for at home by his family and then for the past 10 months he resided at Holy Spirit Retirement home. It greatly bothered him that he was not able to do what he used to, but he accepted that old horses aren’t as fast, and he was ready to “just ride it out”.


Left to continue the rodeo of life are daughter Lynnel (Robert) Wilcke and son Chad Bostwick of Ponca; stepson Craig (Tina) Jones of Newcastle; stepdaughter Debbie (Joe) O’Neill of Jackson; 7 grandsons,
Sam (Ann) Fleury – Ava & Will; Nick (Krista) Fleury – Grace & Mia; Jesse Fleury – Taylor, Jordyn & Rhett; Matt (Becky) Jones – Andrew, Katy, & Jackson; Marcus (Mandy) Jones; Jason (Ali) Jones – Tommy & Zada; Colton (Danielle) Bruggeman. 5 granddaughters: Elise (Mitch) Lowe – Brooklynn, Carter & Mason; Katelyn (Josh Noble) O’Neill  – Declan & Calum; Maggie (Montana) Treadway – Hezekiah, Joseph & Anthony; Sadie (Travis) Voss  – Bonnie, Camden & Wrenley; Christiana (Matt) Koeppe – Jones.

 Also, sisters Cleo Waters of Irene SD and Trudy (Rick) Pinkelman of Maskell and brothers & sisters-in-law Carol Bostwick of Ponca and Gloria Nelson of Michigan, Dean Keller, Mike (Bonnie) Fluent, Andy (Mary) Backman, Patty (Terry) Jonason, and a large host of nieces, nephews and cousins, other relatives and friends.


Chris was proceeded in death by his parents and parents-in-law Gene & Berenice Fluent; wife Nancy; wife Bonnie; brothers Garry, Clyde, Roger, and Clement (Kelly); brothers and sisters-in-law Ray Waters, Larry & Dorothy Keller, Greta Keller, Sharon Bostwick, Sheryl (Mert) Bostwick, Doyle & Pat Backman, Clara & Mel Eschenbaum, Arlene & Bill Chase, Evan & Jan Backman and Connie Gubbels.


The family wishes to acknowledge the dedication and fine care given to Chris over the past few years: the Ponca rescue unit, Mercy Home Health and the Holy Spirit Retirement Home all served with professionalism and compassion.


In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Ponca Fire and Rescue, the Ponca Rodeo Association Scholarship fund, and Holy Spirit Retirement Home in Sioux City, IA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lionel "Chris" Bostwick, please visit our flower store.


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