Ed. — This story originally ran in the Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, print edition.
PUNGO — Floyd E. Bonney Jr., a businessperson, fisherman and farmer best known as the owner of Bonney & Sons Seafood and Produce in his hometown of Pungo died on Thursday, Dec. 10. He was 83.
Bonney was known to locals by the childhood nickname Dunie and also as the “Crab Boss,” as indicated on the vanity plates of his distinctive red truck. An obituary gave his cause of death as complications from congestive heart failure.
Bonney worked in commercial fishing and owned restauraunts locally and in South Carolina. Both his sons and, later, a grandson followed him into the commercial fishing business. And Bonney & Sons is not going anywhere, according to son Todd Bonney, who spoke by telephone recently while working out on the water.
“I loved the water and hunted all my life,” Dunie Bonney told The Independent News in 2018. “I had Blue Pete’s at Back Bay Marina for years, and I started fishing out there, crabbing. I was the first one who ever set a crab pot in Back Bay.”
Bonney eloped and married his high school sweetheart, Anne Lindsey Bonney, in 1955, according to an obituary. She preceded him in death in 2017.
By the late 1960s, Bonney was an Army veteran with a wife and two young sons. It was about that time he built his business as a commercial crabber. In 1969, he set out four crab pots, which brought results, and he immediately purchased many more, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The business grew to include his sons Todd Bonney, in Charleston, S.C., and Jeffery Bonney of Pungo, who predeceased his father, and grandson Colby.
“Just the name of the business tells you there’s something between Floyd and his sons and grandchildren,” said the Rev. David Ryu, who presided over Bonney’s funeral service at Charity United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
The retail business that bears the Bonney & Sons Seafood and Produce name began in 2003, ultimately moving to the village of Pungo, where it stands today. That business will continue on as his father wanted, Todd Bonney said during a telephone interview.
“He was one of a kind,” said Todd Bonney, who travels back to Virginia Beach to deliver fresh seafood to the store. “He was set in his ways, but he would help you out.”
Among other things, Dunie Bonney preferred a pencil and paper to the trappings of technology.
Todd Bonney said his father loved being close to the water and growing produce such as collard greens and sweet potatoes. Over the years, his father had business interests in South Carolina, but returned to Virginia Beach. He was a conduit between the places, bringing workers with him, who sometimes settled in either place.
Bonney was also known for his love of dogs, keeping his pets with him when he worked or made the rounds at restaurants where he met friends. On Thursday, Dec. 31, the dogs were at Bonney & Sons.
There, Jeff Zuhars and Pam Barnum filled orders and helped customers preparing for the New Year. One of Dunie Bonney’s dogs, Holly, sat in her master’s old chair.
In addition to his wife and parents, Floyd and Marie Bonney, Floyd Bonney Jr. was predeceased by son Jeffery Bonney, grandson Jeffery Bonney Jr. and sister Melrose Ansell. He is survived by his son, Todd, sister Jane Etheridge, four grandchildren and nieces and nephews. A 2018 profile of Bonney is online at princessanneindy.com.
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