Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Neil Bondshu -- "It's Best this Way"

Claremont Hotel
On December 20, 1944, shortly before his dance band was to perform at San Francisco's famed St. Francis Hotel, the 28-year-old orchestra leader vanished.  Bondshu's manager described him as "nervous and worried," and fellow band members recalled that their leader had been recently depressed over the break-up of his marriage to his wife, Vicki, and separation from his 7-year-old child, Diane.  Three weeks earlier Bondshu had been arrested fro breaking into his wife's home while she was out, but she dropped the charges.  The focus of an all points bulletin, the missing band leader was found on December 22, 1944, across the Bay in Berkeley in a room in the Claremont Hotel he had reserved earlier for his mother.  Near death from an overdose of sleeping pills, Bondshu was curled up in bed clutching a picture of his estranged wife and daughter.  He died the next day in Berkeley General Hospital.  Two days after Bondshu's discovery, hotel official gave to police a suicide note found at the scene.  Shakily written on hotel stationery with a room key dipped in ink, the note read:  "Sorry, no pen.  Vicki and mother, I'm sorry, but it's best this way."

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