Bonita “Bonnie” Everts ’70

Bonita “Bonnie” Everts, 73, formerly of Westfield, N.Y., passed away peacefully Thursday, May 6, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minn., with her loving family and friends at her side.

Bonnie was born March 19, 1948 in Westfield, N.Y ., the first of four children, born to the late Marshall Everts and Patricia “Pat” Halstead Everts.

From early on Bonnie had a passion for life and a thirst for knowledge. She was an avid reader. As a child, much of her time was spent reading up in the apple tree in their orchard. She took piano lessons in her younger years and learned to play the flute with Mr. Ross. Music was an essential in her life and led her to performing in school musicals where she discovered her love and talent for acting. In high school she was involved in many areas, such as being editor of the 1965 Prospectus yearbook. Other groups were the Honor Society, Latin Club, Majorettes, and AFS to name a few. Bonnie was chosen to be an AFS exchange student to Turkey in the summer preceding her senior year. Living with her Turkish family clearly broadened her view of the world. After graduation, because of her love of Turkey, she traveled across the ocean again to study at American College in Turkey. She then attended and graduated from Hope College in Michigan. Bonnie further attended the University of Chicago for graduate work in Art History. While there she studied sign language and was involved in the Theater for the Deaf. After moving to Minneapolis, she was curator at Walker Art Center. She eventually became involved in real estate, where she was able to serve the deaf community. Every venture gave her more knowledge and insight of the world. Bonnie also loved studying world religions which enlightened her own spiritual journey.

In 2005, Bonnie brought to fruition an idea she had created in her mind, when she founded the not-for-profit organization, SELF International. SELF promoted opportunities in creative education in science, math and the arts. Her goal was to open their minds and instill the desire to go further.

Bonnie dearly loved her family. She was a loving, giving and thoughtful person. Always, doing for others by teaching to share all she had learned over the years, sharing music while singing in her song circle, cooking and baking for others, sharing her home-grown fruits and vegetables with neighbors and friends, always thinking of others. Every undertaking she pursued with her son, her nieces and nephews and children in general became an adventure.

In her final weeks on earth, Bonnie took time to write letters to family members and dear friends, letting them know how much she loved and appreciated them along with a small remembrance. She continued to knit scarves and hats to give away. Also, she was designing a community garden so her “SELF” kids and their families could keep it going. Bonnie had come to terms with this disease that ravaged her body and chose to stay positive and enjoy every moment she could. Her three siblings were able to be with her for several days towards the end. It was an indescribable and emotional time but maybe the best time we ever had together celebrating her life. That whole time she had a smile on her face. Bonnie knew she would soon be going to her eternal home. And for that we celebrate.

Bonnie is survived by her son, Graham Burdick Everts and Trish Lowe, Minneapolis, Minn.; her mother, Patricia (Halstead) Everts; her siblings: Gary Everts, Columbus, Ohio; Barbara (Everts) and Herb Johnson, Westfield, N.Y., and Laurie (Everts) Santorno, Denver, Colo. Her loving cousins: Karen (Chaffee) Fraser, Long Beach Calif., Gail (Chaffee) and Stan Gardner, Longbeach, Calif.; and nieces and nephews, whom she loved and cherished, Molly Brown, Clymer, N.Y., Nicole (Santorno) and Josh McGraw, Oregon City, Ore., Devin Santorno and Kendall Janak Pine, Colorado. Her great-nieces and nephews were also loved and cherished, Alexis, Ashton, Addison, Hallie Jean and Eliana. And her dear and loyal friend, Maria Caliandro.

Bonnie was predeceased by her father, Marshall Everts who died in 2006; grandparents, Erton and Irene (Albright) Halstead; Leo and Elinor (Sutley) Everts; her aunt and uncle, Imogene (Halstead) and George Chaffee; and brother-in-law, David Santorno.

Bonnie’s family would like to thank Pillars Hospice Home in Minneapolis for the care she received in her final days.

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