Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Bonnie Bonnes

March 7, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI




Bonnie Bonnes of Kalamazoo, MI.

Thursday, March 7, 2024, Bonnie left this place and arrived at her eternal home at the age of 87. She was born in Kalamazoo on March 20, 1936, to the late Roland N. Bland and Irene (Pollner) Bland of Kalamazoo.

Bonnie was a proud "East Sider" and grew up on Dayton Avenue. She attended Woodrow Wilson Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1954 (she could still sing the school song in her 80's). Her childhood was difficult having grown up in the shadow of World War II, however she still was able to enjoy school events, Girl Scouts, and church. In high school she could be found at the roller rink, dances, and the local diner with her many friends.

Bonnie met her husband Henry "Hank" Bonnes in the most typical of activities of the 1950's, cruising downtown Kalamazoo with her friends! They were married on September 25, 1959, and enjoyed 59 years together, until Henry passed away in 2018. In 1964, they built their dream house just around the corner from Henry's cousins in Oshtemo. Henry and Bonnie loved to host gatherings and friends. They had many parties, including the annual pool party dubbed "The Rain Fest". They also hosted many friends from other parts of the country and many relatives from Europe.

Bonnie had a pen pal in England, Jean Bates, who she wrote to from 1959 until age and health prevented them from writing. Bonnie was privileged to travel to England numerous times to visit with Jean, and they even got their daughters writing together and had a special mother-daughter visit here in Michigan for three weeks in the late 1970's.

Bonnie loved to travel, and together with Henry they made many memories traveling to Europe, all over the US, and a special trip to Spain in retirement. Most of all, their family trips to the Great Smoky Mountains and Ludington, MI held a special place in her memories.

Bonnie was a worker! As she proclaimed, "I never met a job I didn't like". She started working in high school at The Fuller Theater and Borgess Hospital. As an adult after high school, Bonnie began working at The Upjohn Company. She quit working when her daughter was born in 1968, but as her daughter entered school, she began a series of part time and work from home jobs, including bookkeeping, cleaning, temp agency work, election official, Morrison Jewelers, newspaper carrier, and Bonnie even worked alongside her daughter helping with filing and answering phones at a travel agency.

People have described Bonnie as "fun, spunky, colorful, funny, and the life of the party". She made friends easily and was involved in many community organizations. She was in The Kalamazoo Weavers Guild, Red Hat Society, quilt clubs, The Christian Women's Club, PTA, and many other local organizations. Bonnie was given a medal by the Kalamazoo Central Swim Team that her daughter was part of for being the "Team Mom" working countless hours as a timer, fundraising, and feeding the team.

Biking, walking, and swimming laps in the backyard pool, Bonnie was always active and was often seen around Oshtemo on foot, on a bike, alone, with family, or her former walking partner, Henry's cousin Joyce.

Together with Henry, she joined the Mid-Michigan Mustang Club after Henry restored Bonnie's original 1968 Mustang that they had bought new in '68. This became a fun part of their retirement years as they attended events and festivals around Michigan.

To Bonnie, family was everything. She attended every event that her daughter was a part of. When the son-in-law and grandchildren came along, Henry and Bonnie could be found at many sporting events, school activities, and church programs. Bonnie even traveled out to Lancaster, PA to see her granddaughter Rebekah's College performances, and of course she made friends with numerous students and staff at the college.

Bonnie had a quiet faith that sustained her through many difficult events. She started attending Valley View Bible Church in the early 1970's and then later, Fourth Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, and was currently a member of Lighthouse Community Church in Kalamazoo.

Besides her parents and husband, Bonnie was preceded in death by her two brothers, Bobby Bland and Nardin Bland. She is survived by her daughter, Victoria (Peter) Hill; granddaughter, Rebekah Hill; and grandson Nathan Hill, all of Plainwell.

The family would like to thank the entire staff at Park Village Pines and Crystal Woods for their excellence in senior care. Also, thanks to Centrica Hospice for their compassionate care and for making Bonnie's last weeks safe and comfortable.

A Celebration of Life will take place on Friday, March 22, 2024 at 11:00 am, at Lighthouse Community Church, 4321 S. 11th Street, Kalamazoo. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christian Neighbors in Plainwell or Sylvia's Place (domestic abuse safe house) in Allegan. Friends and family may share a condolence message online at