Bonita Zigrang
Bonita Zigrang
Birth: 15 July 1904
East St. Louis, Illinois, USA
Death: 31 March 2015
Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA
Age: 110 years, 259 days
Country: United StatesUSA
Pending

Bonita Ailene Zigrang (née Smith; 15 July 1904 – 31 March 2015) was an American supercentenarian whose age is currently pending by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was one of the oldest known people in the US state of California at the time of her death.

Biography

Bonita Zigrang was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, USA on 15 July 1904. She was the middle of three girls. Her father, Charlie Smith, worked as a singing waiter at the St. Louis Exposition.

When she was 6, she and her family moved to Los Angeles, where her father died a short time later after he fell off a scaffold while working as a house painter. After the accident, her mother rented out part of their downtown house to working men to earn money.

Zigrang and her sisters began performing at the Venice Pier merry-go round and the Santa Monica roller-coaster to draw crowds and make a buck. They also managed to pick up work as extras in some movies in the 1920s.

As she got older, Zigrang performed in theaters and composed original music pieces while working at the Remick Music shop in downtown Los Angeles.

She and her sisters sang in the MacArthur Park grandstand, where she met her husband, Charles Zigrang. They married in 1928 and had two sons Richard Zigrang (1929–2017) and William Zigrang (born c.1945).

Zigrang and her sisters became known as the Smith Sisters and performed at a chain of movie theaters throughout Southern California in what was known as the Orpheum Circuit. She sang with Margaret King and was one of the opening acts at San Diego's Balboa Theatre.

Her sister, Camille, died in the 1950s and her sister, Thelma, died in the 1990s.

After the Watts riots in 1965, Zigrang and her husband relocated to Rancho Palos Verdes. Charles died in 1978, and Richard took over the dental office. Zigrang worked as a receptionist for one more year before retiring.

At 106, Bonita suffered a stroke that confined her to a bed in hospice care.

Bonita Zigrang died in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA on 31 March 2015 at the age of 110 years, 259 days. She is survived by her two sons, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren

Gallery

Bonita Zigrang as a young vaudeville performer.

References

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