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Sad News

A note from Dallas:

Dear Quilters and Friends, 

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the news of the deaths of Pam and Robert Bono on Sunday, September 21st. They were killed by a tragic accident, and our family is broken hearted in this horrible time. Many of you might want to know the circumstances of their death, but our family has decided to keep this private. We also know that many of you will be concerned about your Pam’s Club memberships.

The family wants to make sure Pam and Robert’s customers get what they paid for, but for legal reasons, we are limited in what we can do. Pam and Robert were Pam’s club. Although their dear employee, Molly, handled shipping and receiving, Pam handled all customer service herself. At this time, we have kept the store open for all pattern downloads, closed all new memberships, and have taken products off the site that need to be shipped, including the angler. At this time, there is no one to fill future physical orders. There's no one to take calls or answer emails. There's no one to provide customer support. For a brief period after their deaths, some orders were able to be shipped, but that time has passed, and all business functions have completely halted. Our access to the bank accounts is non-existent.

For Pam's Club members who have paid for their year of membership, we have reduced the price of all 125 products that were under $2 to be Free.

For everyone who buys anything, be warned: we don't know how long the site will stay up. We can't provide technical support if anything goes wrong. The business is effectively closed, and we're just trying to make things right in the limited ways that we can before it disappears.  Since we don't know how long the website will stay up, please download any files you purchase as soon as possible.

Below is an obituary for both of them. In times like this, people want to be of help, send flowers, cards, etc. If you would like to do something for Pam or Robert, you could make a donation in any amount to the following organization: The Manilow music Project buys musical instruments for public school children in California. Robert and Pam both gave generously to this charity, which is tax deductible. 

The Manilow Music Project

8295 South La Cienega Boulevard

Inglewood, CA 90301

Pam and Robert Bono Obituary

My mother, Pamela Jean Ryan, was born on January 24th, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri. From an early age, she possessed an artistic soul, had a natural affinity for drawing and painting, and loved how colors worked with each other. Pam was also a very talented singer and dancer. Throughout her formative years, she performed often in St. Louis as a singing actor, and after graduating high school, Pam moved to New York City and attended the American Theater Wing as an artist in residence. Suffering from intense stage fright, Pam decided that a life on Broadway was not for her, although producers and agents were interested in her for her exceptional stage presence, and Judy Garland type voice. She moved back home to St. Louis, and although she continued to perform sporadically, she pursued a career in commercial art.

She and my father, Robert Bono, met at a nightclub in St. Louis where she was filling in as a singer, and my father was playing bass and drums with his band. They always told me that it was love at first sight. They were married one year later, and Pam continued to work as a commercial artist in St. Louis, and Robert as a musician. For one year after they were married, they went on tour together. My father played bass and drums for Harry James and Charlie Spivak, The famous trumpeters. He also worked with the legendary jazz musician Louis Prima and played for Doris Day.

Not only was my father a great bass and drum player, he also possessed one of the greatest operatic tenor voices in the world. He could have easily stood toe-to-toe with Mario Lanza or Luciano Pavarotti and held his own. I remember listening to him singing high C's that rattled the windows.

While my mom was on the road, she picked up sewing as a hobby. She discovered a love for fabrics, colors, and patterns. When they moved back to St. Louis after being on tour, Pam continued to work as an artist. After a couple years she had her first son, Dallas. She enjoyed making clothes for her child. Eventually a good friend suggested that she combine her sewing talent with her art talent in some way. She began designing counted cross-stitch and quilts and turned out design after design, and quilt after quilt with so much speed, her friends told her that her fingers seemed to literally fly over the fabric. She used that phrase as the name for her first company, Flying Fingers. Their factory was located in the Italian neighborhood called “The Hill” in St. Louis, in the old garment district. As a child I remember climbing around underneath all the cutting tables, playing with fabric tubes, and building forts out of the cardboard inserts from fabric bolts. A majority of their work came from the glory days of Walmart, when Sam Walton still owned the company.

During that time, my mom also began designing for Better Homes and Gardens magazine as one of their leading quilt designers. Her first quilt for Better Homes was the transportation quilt, which was made for me, but never made it to my bed. My mom gave it as a gift for my son, Logan at his birth and it still hangs on his wall.

She had her second son, Ryan, and shortly after decided to put all her efforts into Better Homes and Gardens and left Flying Fingers behind. She wrote several books for Oxmoor House, Leisure Arts, and Rodale books, and had great relationships with all of her editors. Drawing on her commercial art experience, Pam did all the layout and artwork for all of her books, which is something most authors do not have the expertise to do.

In 1985 our family went to Durango, Colorado for a vacation, and stayed. Pam fell in love with Durango, which is where her extended family came from. At that time my great uncle still lived there, and we enjoyed learning the colorful history of our family. Pam got a great deal of inspiration from her new home. Many of the color combinations she used came from what she could see as she gazed from her office window. There are quilts in her collection using colors inspired by desert mesas, mountain ranges, and even the birds visiting her feeder on our back deck.

Pam believed true artistry took time. Critics of her work always suggested that she design easier quilts and products that could be put together in a short period of time. She always said, “There’s enough people out there doing that crap.” She wanted people to take their time and put together projects that would give them a large amount of satisfaction when they completed them, and she never compromised her principals. It’s funny to me that Mozart said the very same thing about his contemporaries, when they accused his work of having “too many notes.” I’ve always thought of my mom as being the Mozart of quilting. Her creations were true pieces of art and an expression of a complicated and colorful soul.

Pam loved animals and animals loved her. She was an avid English bulldog lover, and adored the indigenous wildlife of Southwestern Colorado. Deer would come up to her as if she were one of their family. She would pull the burrs out of their fur, kiss their noses, and hug them as if they were her children. We have photos of Pam rubbing noses with a six-point buck.

Robert was her partner in every way. He did all the manufacturing of her products, helped her design, and saw to the day-to-day life of our family. We have wonderful memories of them on our family outings into the high mountain country, family vacations, and ruckus family dinners.

I learned three things from my mother: Never compromise your principals; follow your dreams, no matter what the cost; and never trust anyone who doesn’t use a four letter word at least once a day. The third might not be accurate to everyone, but it always made me laugh. My mom was able to use the word “shit” as a noun, verb, adjective, and on occasion, even an adverb.

Her two sons, Ryan and Dallas, six grandchildren, and Molly Sprowle survive Robert and Pam. Molly may not have been blood related, but Pam and Robert called her the daughter they never had, so for that reason, she is family in every way that counts.

With a deep sense of loss,

Dallas Bono