Maria Goncalves Bonito, Wake County French and Spanish teacher, mentor and friend, and loving wife and mother, passed away peacefully at home Tuesday, November 19th after a courageous 3 year battle with cancer. Born in Lisbon, Portugal on September 24, 1945, Maria was the only child of Ernestina and Manuel Goncalves. At the age of 12, her family moved to the United States where she learned English and developed her love of language.
She was the beloved wife of Arthur J. Bonito for 46 years. Maria will be profoundly missed by him and their three sons: Victor Emmanuel, Anthony Arthur, and Gregory Michael. Maria was a devoted grandmother to Aldo Emilio and Felix Garcia Bonito. She will also be missed by her daughters-in-law, Rebecca P. Bonito of Australia and Patty S. Bonito of California, and her brother-in-law Richard Bonito of Baltimore.
Maria was an outstanding teacher in Wake County for 34 years and in Baltimore County, Maryland for 5 years. She served as a mentor teacher and Foreign Language Department Chair in Wake County at Carnage MS, Leesville MS and Sanderson HS. Maria was selected in 1994 as Teacher of the Year by the Foreign Language Association of NC as well as being a finalist for the Wake County Teacher of the Year in 1987.
Maria received a Bachelor of Arts in French from Purdue University and her Master of Education from the John Hopkins University. In addition, she studied Spanish at North Carolina State University, the University of Salamanca in Spain, Centro de Estudios Interamericanos in Cuenca, Ecuador, and participated in cultural workshops in Merida, Mexico. Academic honors included graduating Magna Cum Laude and membership in the Gamma Beta Phi and Pi Delta Phi honor societies.
Love of family and friends and a desire to travel have been the greatest blessings in her life.
There will be a Family Visitation from 6 to 8 pm Monday, November 25 at Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, 27612. A Funeral Mass will be held 11 am on Tuesday, November 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh 27613.
The family wants to acknowledge the wonderful care provided by the nursing staff and Dr. Lola Olajide at the Rex Cancer Center.
The family also appreciates the respect and kindness shown and the humane care given to Maria by Dr. Kerry Whitt.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be designated in Maria's memory to the Cancer Center through the Rex Healthcare Foundation, 2500 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 325, Raleigh, 27607