Bonnie Lou Watkins was born January 15, 1943 at Alida, Minnesota to Charles and Olga Watkins. She was the tenth of twelve children. She attended school at Bear Creek and graduated from Bagley High School in 1960. She married David Wilander on January 21, 1961 at Shevlin, Minnesota. They lived at Becida and had three children and farmed. She lived there until her death from cancer on August 24, 2012 at the age of 69.
Bonnie was a member of Becida Community Church, where she served as church secretary, Sunday school teacher and a deaconess. Her church family was very important to her and she forged many lifelong friendships there. Bonnie was very active in her community. She participated in the PTA, was a 4-H leader for twenty years, and served on the American Swedish Institute board. David and Bonnie loved to dance, and attended dances as often as they could. They spent many years in their folk dancing club, with a highlight of performing for the King and Queen of Norway during a visit to Minnesota. In later years Bonnie taught herself to play the mandolin and they regularly participated in jam sessions at Pony Lake and Lake Itasca. They enjoyed their social life and made many dear friends along the way.
She was well known for her cooking and baking and her house was always full of company. She loved to drink coffee and visit and she loved to please her guests. Quite often she would make several different desserts just so everyone could have their favorites. She loved to spend time with her family and friends, and especially enjoyed watching her four grandsons grow.
After retiring from active farming, Bonnie and David finally had the opportunity to travel. They visited several places around the U.S. as well as Canada, Sweden, Latvia, Ireland, and England. Everywhere they went they found new friends to stay in touch with.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Duane “Buck”, Gary, and Charles “Buzz” Watkins and a sister, Donna Fenner. She is survived by her husband, children, Mark (Theresa) Wilander, Annette (Scott) Tammaro, and Sara (Brent) Lusignan; grandchildren Tony Tammaro, Brandon (Katie) Granmo, and Ben and Brody Wilander; sisters Doris Thorson, Gladys Roberts, Beverly Roberts, and Pat (Tom) Berg; and brothers Richard, David (Verna), and Michael Watkins, as well as a large extended family. Bonnie was a cherished wife, mother, sister and friend, and she will be sorely missed.
Visitation will be held Thursday, August 30 from 6-8 pm, at Becida Community Church. A memorial service will be held at Becida Community Church Friday, August 31 at 1pm. Burial will be at Fern Township Cemetery at Becida. Luncheon and music will follow at the church.