Thursday, 13 June 2024

Bonnie Bonnett

Bonnie Bonnett. Courtesy photo.

Bonnie Gaylene Bonnett passed away at home one year ago, on May 22, 2023, of cancer in the company of her family.

She was born April 1, 1954, in Hampton, Virginia to Thomas and Gaylene Knight Bonnett.

The family lived in Hampton until moving to Colombia, South America, where her father was stationed for two years as a major in the Army until his untimely death in an airplane crash when Bonnie was 9 years old.

She moved back to Hampton by way of family in North Carolina with her mother, sister and brother.

In 1964, her mother married Frederick J. Hines, an electrical engineer for NASA. “Poppy Fred” was thereafter a beloved stepfather to the three kids and, later, grandchildren.

Bonnie graduated from Bethel High School and ultimately decided on a career in nursing. By her own amused admission, she attended at least eight colleges before receiving her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Sonoma State University in 1989.

In supporting herself through college, the job she was fondest of was running copy at the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.

While attending Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1976, she lived downstairs from Peter Stanley, who later became her husband. They both remember a Joan Baez concert as one of their first dates.

On his graduation, they moved together to Worcester, Massachusetts, where she worked in the surgical ICU and then as a visiting nurse. She had fond memories of going to the Irish pub with co-workers after work.

In 1981, they moved to California, landing in Lakeport in 1983 by way of Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. They married in 1982 in her parents’ Hampton backyard.

In Lakeport, she became very involved with maternal-child health, teaching prenatal classes, teaching child health and nutrition at Mendocino College, being a maternal-child health educator with Lake County Public Health and working in an obstetrician’s office.

Bonnie bonded especially with the Hispanic community, being fluent in Spanish from her two years in Colombia as a child, and subsequent language and cultural studies. This bond enriched her relationships with her clients and employers throughout her career.

For the last 20 years of her career, she worked for Easter Seals with kids aged birth to 3 with disabilities, initially as an early interventionist and ultimately as the director of the Lake County office. Her greatest joy remained home visits, getting on the floor with little ones to evaluate their needs and to educate the parents on techniques that help their children adapt and develop.

Bonnie was a devout Catholic, which underpinned much of her work and relationships with others. She was very active in her church, St. Mary’s in Lakeport, and felt connected to its community. She especially liked being a part of the music at St. Mary’s, sometimes being the solo member of the choir.

She enjoyed supporting her kids, including as a swim team mom with the Channel Cats, clogging with her girls as part of the Clear Lake Clikkers and as a long-time member of the School Site Council.

She loved to sing and enjoyed being part of the Sweet Adelines, rehearsing every week and putting on performances around the lake. Her other joys included working in the garden, sewing, and cooking.

Bonnie’s biggest love was her family. She leaves behind her husband, Peter; her children, Jacob (April and granddaughter Leora), Rachel (Melissa) and Elena (Jon); sister, Susie (Robyn); brother, Jeb (Shay); and many nieces, nephews and other extended family.

On the anniversary of her death, May 22, we will have a brief ceremony with unveiling of her headstone at 6 p.m. at Hartley Cemetery in Lakeport, after which people are welcome to join us at our home to share memories.

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13Jun
06.13.2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Middletown Area Town Hall
14Jun
06.14.2024
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14Jun
06.14.2024 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Clearlake Summer Concert Series
14Jun
06.14.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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14Jun
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15Jun
06.15.2024
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15Jun
06.15.2024 8:00 am - 06.16.2024 1:00 am
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15Jun
06.15.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
16Jun
06.16.2024
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16Jun
06.16.2024 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
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