Cover photo for Bonnie Byrl Claxton's Obituary
Bonnie Byrl Claxton Profile Photo

Bonnie Byrl Claxton

November 30, 1922 — February 5, 2024

Bonnie Byrl Claxton

Bonnie (Byrl) Claxton was born on November 30, 1922 in Loraine, Texas.  Growing up during the depression, his formative years were spent moving from town-to-town with his family for work.  Byrl spoke of periodically having to sleep in tents out on the plains, and of the hard times when there was barely enough food.  The family survived the depression by chopping and picking cotton.  Byrl attended different grade schools in Texas, and spoke fondly of the times he actually rode his mule to school; that is, when the mule wanted to participate. When he wasn’t working in the cotton fields, he was known to start untrained horses.  In 1938, the family moved to Westbrooke, Texas.  Here he became involved in football and other sport activities at school.  Byrl graduated from Westbrook High School in 1941.   

After graduation Byrl enlisted and served in the Marines from January 1943 to November 1945.  He served in the capacity of Private First Class in the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion, a special group who conducted the initial ground offensives against the Japanese.  In the course of Private Claxton’s service, he was stationed on the Islands of Bougainville, Guadalcanal, Emirau, and Hawaii in the Pacific theater. During his tour of duty, the 3rd  Marine Raider Battalion came face-to face with intense combat with the Japanese, where they suffered many casualties.  

For his heroic action in the South Pacific, Private Bryl Claxton was awarded many Medals and citations.  Among these are:

  1. Presidential Unit Citation
  2. Combat Action Badge
  3. Victory Medal
  4. Asiatic Pacific Medal of Battlestars
  5. Expert Rifleman

And while injured, he refused the Purple Heart.

After an honorable discharge from the Marines, Byrl returned to Texas for a short period of time before moving to Michigan where he attended business school in the evening.  He started his career at Ford Motor Company in Detroit; however, for most of his professional career Byrl was employed for the Michigan Department of Treasury as an auditor.  This position gradually evolved into investigating taxation fraud from criminal activities as gambling, narcotics, or prostitution.

In the 1970’s, Bryl met and married the love of his life, Esther on July 30, 1979. After an early retirement, they relocated to Kansas City to be close to family.  For the better part of one decade Bryl and Esther traveled the country in their RV, spending winters in the sunshine states or traveling to see family. Their adventures took them all over the world, from cruising through Europe and seeing the Great Pyramids of Egypt, to taking the transcontinental train across Canada.  When they weren’t traveling, they enjoyed square and ball room dancing, and spending time with family.  Byrl was also very musically talented and particularly enjoyed strumming his guitar. Throughout his life, Byrl stayed active, and even in his 90’s, he continued exercising at the gym.

Even after Esther passed in 2020, Byrl continued to embrace life to its fullest. Being an avid reader, he kept his mind active reading Westerns from his favorite authors such as Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey.  Fulfilling one of his dreams was seeing the Sandhill Cranes in Kearney Nebraska.  In 2022, he was chosen to throw out the first ball for the Kansas City Royals on Arm Forces Day. Over the last 3.5 years, his life was enriched by visiting Powell Gardens, visiting the aquarium and zoo on several occasions, and spending special moments with his family.

Preceding him in death is his wife Esther Claxton, sons Richard and Robert Claxton, great-grandson Rich Claxton 3rd, his father, JW Marvin Claxton and mother, Bessie McMahan Claxton, sisters Sybil Jo, Alta May, and Norma Jean and daughter through marriage, Amy LaSalle.

He leaves behind, his grandsons, Richard Claxton, Brian Acton (Tegan), Matthew Claxton (Amy), and Scott Claxton ( LeAnn), along with 9 great grandchildren; brothers Lloyd Claxton (Virginia) and Jake Claxton (Gwyn), former daughter-in-law Tami Claxton, and many dear nieces and nephews.  On Esther’s side, Byrl leaves behind his daughter Margaret Bjelica (Paul), grandchildren, Angelina Bjelica and Joel Dugdale (Catherine), as well as two great grandchildren. 

Byrl is so loved and will be missed.  We know that he is in his heavenly domain with all his loved ones who passed before him.  May his soul soar high in the heavenly kingdom.  In time we will all be reunited.  Until then.

 

 

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Past Services

Memorial Service

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Johnson County Funeral Chapel

11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210

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Interment

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Johnson County Memorial Gardens

11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210

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