Many years ago her friend, Jeannine Anderson, stitched a saying for Bonnie:
“The Best Mirror is a Friend’s Eye”.
Bonnie treasured her family and friends.
Even as she was dying of respiratory ailments on Tuesday, April 26, she was talking about the people she loved. Her beloved husband of 69 years, David, was at her side, as were three of her children, and the fourth, in Germany, was with the family in spirit.
Bonnie was born “Rose Caryl” Pfanstiehl on August 3, 1922 in Highland Park, Illinois, although as a teen she decided she wanted to be “Bonnie”. She attended a boarding school in Colorado Springs and learned to love this part of the country. At Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, she met David Geppert. She and David married on June 6, 1942, just before he entered the service.
After the war David, Bonnie and their two daughters, Trish and Caryl, moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where David taught in the music department of Kansas State College. Son Steven and the youngest daughter Margy were born in Manhattan.
In 1951 the family moved to Rochester, NY where David studied for an advanced degree at the Eastman School of Music. After his graduation he joined the faculty.
Bonnie was a full time Mom for her four children (a gift all of them treasure). In addition she was active in the Unitarian Church and sang in the choir which David directed. Throughout the Rochester years she played violin in a string quartet, set up a mimeograph office for “good causes” including protesting the Vietnam War, and cared for newborn babies waiting for their adoption by their “forever families”.
In 1969 David decided to retire, and they had the opportunity to settle in La Veta. They moved into the Red House in 1970. Over the years, Bonnie became active in many local activities: the Garden Club, the La Veta Library (Treasurer/Secretary), the SPACe Gallery (Secretary/ Treasurer).
Among her great joys was a horse named Sonya, which she gentled and rode in the countryside and in local parades. The Statue of Liberty and Lady Godiva were two of her favorite costumes. For several summers she took Sonya and her granddaughter to jumping shows.
Bonnie taught her grandchildren to drive, taped numerous books for family and friends to enjoy, loved being a waitress at the Truck Stop and other places in town, drove a school bus for several years, rode her motorcycle over the pass to swim, or took friends for local cycling adventures.
Her children and grandchildren were frequent visitors to the “Red House”. She loved her “Dolphin” motorhome for extended travel and for hosting special lunches with her friends. She was a voracious reader. Bonnie was generous with everything she had to give, from financial aid to sharing ideas, questions and criticism, often with a good laugh. To the very end she was deeply concerned with personal growth, which for her was always possible for everyone.
A serious lung injury years ago gradually made breathing more difficult, and during her 80’s her ability to enjoy diverse activities waned. So she learned to use the internet, loving the give and take of e-mails, and cherishing her communication with far flung family and friends. She remained as Secretary/Treasurer to the non-profit SPACe gallery.
She is survived by her sister Lori Ives of Claremont, CA; her husband David; and four children, Trish (Winfree) Woollcott of Harbor Springs, MI, Caryl Emerson of Princeton NJ, Steven Geppert of Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Margy Walter of Hochdorf, Germany. She leaves six grandchildren, Rachael Winfree of Princeton NJ, Erik Winfree of Pasadena, CA, Chris Woollcott of Seattle, WA, Carrie Walter of Bristol, England, Ingo Walter of Salt Lake City, UT, and Steve Walter of Hochdorf, Germany. She saw her two great grandchildren last summer, Nicholas Winfree Budny (7) and Sophia Geppert Budny (1 ½).
Bonnie was not afraid of death, and was deeply grateful for the years she enjoyed with her family and friends. She requested a small private celebration in memory of her life, and hoped that anyone wishing to honor her would contribute to the SPACe Gallery in La Veta.
The family appreciates all the cards and letters of tribute and sympathy. The family also wishes to thank Dr William Cluff and the nurses on the Acute Care floor of the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center for their compassionate care. Thanks to them, and to her own courage, Bonnie had the dignified and loving death she had hoped for.
Life will be more difficult, and less full of wonder and joy without her.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward