Born in Denver, Colorado, Bonnie enjoyed summers riding and hiking in the mountains. But at 14, she contracted polio and was hospitalized for 6 months in an iron lung with 2 ½ years of physical therapy. Although left with a permanent disability, she forged through life with an indomitable spirit, a deep intellectual curiosity and spiritual awareness, and keen sense of humor.
Bonnie graduated from Scripps College and received master’s degrees from Yale Divinity School and The New School of Social Research. She did social work, and taught at Stephens College in Missouri and the University of Bridgeport. In 1969, she joined the faculty of Norwalk Community Technical College and taught Philosophy and Religion for 25 years, receiving their Merit Award in 1985.
As an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, she performed numerous marriages and christenings. She also ministered at the Center for Healing Arts of Stamford’s First Congregational Church and did clinical pastoral counseling at nursing homes and the Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital in Wallingford. She was recognized for her community contributions in 1993 by Celebrate Women! and received the American Red Cross “Real Hero” award in 1995.
In addition to her teaching, lecturing and private counseling, Bonnie led many groups in meditation and contemplative prayer (melding Native American and world religion practices), and in the use of “therapeutic touch” as a healing modality. A cherished dream in later years was to incorporate energetic and hands-on-healing into the traditional Church.
In the 1990’s, Bonnie also helped organize the CT Tibetan Resettlement Project. She shared her home for more than 10 years to assist in relocations and developed very close bonds with her “extended family”.
Bonnie loved learning and enjoyed sharing ideas with her long-standing Salon and Book groups. She also loved animals, all things from the Southwest, and was especially happy outdoors surrounded by nature.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at 1:30 PM on April 26 at The Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Rd. in Westport, CT. In lieu of flowers, see www.post-polio.org and www.savetibet.org for details.
Editor's Note: This obituary was previously published on The Hour. This obituary was supplied courtesy of the Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport, Conn.