Bonnie Lee Boehnke was a compassionate and caring woman who above all treasured family. Her decisions were not always made in the most conventional of ways, but that was Bonnie, who lived life to a beat of her own. In the end, Bonnie was at peace. She found hope in the love of her Lord and was given a new palette from which she painted all things new. She will be forever missed in the hearts of those she leaves behind.
The year 1943 was a time of mixed blessings. Declaration was made that the Great Depression was finally over, and The Pentagon was officially dedicated in Arlington, Virginia. With publications like The Saturday Evening Post and box office hits like Casablanca, a sense of optimism gave Americans a sense of normalcy, even during the tumultuous times of World War II. Amidst these changing times a most blessed occasion took place in the lives of Earl and Audrey (Gones) Daniels when they welcomed the birth of their little girl, Bonnie Lee, born on June 23, 1943.
Born in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Michigan, Bonnie was the second of eventually three children in the Daniels household. While the marriage of their parents ended in divorce, Earl found love again and married Lorrine on June 25, 1949. Lorrine happily assumed the role of mother as well wife and the children reciprocated that love – and to this day consider Lorrine their mother. Bonnie grew up alongside her older sister, Barbara, and younger brother Daniel in their northeast side home in the area of Sixth and Keefe Streets close to other family members who lived there as well.
As a young girl, Bonnie took a special liking to art which she learned from other family members. With natural talent, she became an exceptional artist which she developed during her teenage years and continued to display throughout her life. She attended the local schools and was a friend to many. Her adolescent years, however, were somewhat rebellious and troublesome. From an early age she simply did things her way, which lead to a time when she was even placed in detention.
In time Bonnie was introduced to a young man named Joseph Heinrich through mutual friends. He was in the Air Force, and before long a romance developed. At the age of 19, Bonnie married Joe in November of 1962. Since Joe was stationed in North Carolina, Bonnie left to follow her new husband there. In 1963 she was blessed with the birth of her first child, a son they named Dale. When their second son, Donald came along in 1964, their family was complete. Although her marriage to Joe ended several years later in 1967, Bonnie was forever grateful for the two sons that came from their union.
Bonnie was a very nurturing mother. Her world revolved around her sons and she was very open with them and available for them to talk to. She taught them, among many things, to never be judgmental of others. They especially enjoyed the outdoors together. They loved to go camping, hiking, fishing and enjoyed visiting historical sights together. Holidays were always a special time for them as Bonnie put her heart and love into everything she did for her boys.
As a single mother, Bonnie had a tough road supporting her sons, but they never went without and had everything they ever needed, and more. She worked tirelessly to provide for them through a variety of jobs. For a time she worked at the White Castle Restaurant, and at Splinter Pickle Factory. Never one afraid of a challenge, she even went on to become the first woman to work in the shop at the Inland Ryerson Steel Company. To make ends meet, Bonnie and her boys moved into a place with her best friend, Georgia. They not only shared household expenses and chores, but they shared many life experiences together as well. It was a good situation for all and was counted as a most memorable time in her life.
Throughout these years, Bonnie worked hard, raised her sons and spent time expanding her artistic talent. She painted anything and everything, many of which looked like actual photos once completed. Many of her pieces were given to friends and family to enjoy. She also liked music, especially the music of her youth from the 1950s, and loved everything about Elvis Presley.
In time Bonnie came to find love again. She met Frank Boehnke while socializing at a bar enjoying a cocktail, and they soon hit it off. Although she ignored advice from her family and closest friends, Bonnie went on to marry Frank in 1988. Sadly, she was faced with yet another divorce when that marriage ended two years later in 1990.
With her life falling apart at the seams of her heart, Bonnie took notice of a viable change in the life of her sister, Barbara when she began focusing her own life on God. Bonnie wanted that change in her life as well, and began attending Parkway Apostolic Church in Oak Creek, Wisconsin with her son, Don and his family. For the first time in her life, Bonnie found true hope and unconditional love in her relationship with Jesus. As her love for Him grew, she was baptized and filled with His Spirit. In Him she found forgiveness and was made whole again.
Bonnie eventually moved to Random Lake, Wisconsin which allowed her to be near her son, Dale. They enjoyed similar lifestyles, and they looked out for one another. When Dale sadly died, Bonnie took his death extremely hard, and relied on her faith. In 2009 she began developing health issues of her own, and it was soon discovered she had heart issues. Later, lung cancer was detected through further testing. After being hospitalized, Bonnie underwent rehabilitation to strengthen her, and in 2010 entered Willowdale Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in New Holstein. In early 2011 her condition worsened and she was soon placed into hospice care. Sadly, at the age of 68, Bonnie Lee died on Saturday, November 5, 2011.
A woman of undeniable strength who lived life her own way, Bonnie’s life palette was mostly hued with the calmness of the color blue she so loved. Although there were fragments of gray and black in between, her horizon was that of sunbeams radiating from the tranquility she felt from within. Compassionate towards others and just as thoughtful, Bonnie will be long remembered and lovingly missed.
Bonnie was the loving daughter of Lorrine Daniels, the cherished mother of the late Dale (Patricia) Heinrich and Donald (Cynthia) Heinrich; grandmother to David, Patricia, Amber, Samantha and April; dear sister of Barbara (Jerry) Miller and Dan (Sue) Daniels. She is further survived by three great-grandchildren, other relatives and friends. Family and friends will gather at Niemann / Suminski Life Story Funeral Home, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, (414) 744-5156, Monday, November 14, 2011 from 6:00 PM until time of her Memorial Service at 7:00 PM. To submit a favorite memory, photo and to sign Bonnie’s online guest book, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.