Brazil resident John R. Mullenix, an echocardiogram (EKG) technician at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, is trying to find out what happened to Kelly Bonham Hillman's great-grandfather, Horace Spencer Bonham.
"If anyone knows what happened to him, how he died, where he died, it would really help," Mullenix said during an interview at The Brazil Times office while he was researching the microfilm archives. "This is the first time I've ever done anything like this and it is really very interesting research."
After working for more than five years together at Regional Hospital, Mullenix and Hillman have become best friends. When her 8-year old grandson, Johnny Hillman, was experiencing chest pains, Mullenix performed the echocardiogram that was sent to the Indianapolis St. Vincent's Children's Hospital for evaluation.
The results indicated the possibility of Marfan's Syndrome, but the family's genetic medical history to direct relatives would have to be researched to find out for sure.
The Marfan Syndrome is a relatively rare, inherited connective tissue disorder that causes damage to tendons, ligaments, blood vessel walls, cartilage, heart valves and many other structures. As a result of the syndrome, the chemical makeup of the victim's connective tissue isn't as stiff as it should be, which can enlarge the aorta, the major artery of the heart, and cause blood leakage.
While Hillman searched records in Vigo County for her relatives, she found a marriage certificate dated in 1931, that shows Horace Spencer Bonham, 65, Ohio, marrying Ada Power, 40, Illinois. On the document, Bonham said he owned a shop in Brazil.
Hillman is continuing her search for relatives in other counties while Mullenix is following up on the lead about her grandfather in Clay County.
"I live here so it was easier for me to look that information up for her," Mullenix said.
Mullenix went to the Clay County Historical Society, where records indicate that Bonham owned and operated a grocery store at 314 S. Chicago St. during the 1930s. No further information could be found, but he plans on visiting the Clay County Genealogical Society, Center Point.
Because the family needs to find medical histories, which includes death certificates, of direct descendants for doctors to review during the diagnosis process starting in January 2008, Mullenix is looking for any information that local residents might have about Bonham.
For more information, please contact John R. Mullenix at Terre Haute Regional Hospital at (812) 237-1669 or at home at 446-2426.