Obituary for Bonnie Edith May Messenger (Douglas)
Bonnie was born to Vernon Clifford Douglas and Maggie Aleata Wilcox on November 23, 1929 at Evansburg, Alberta. She was the youngest of five children.
Bonnie was predeceased by her parents, Vernon (1949) and her mother, Maggie in (1974); her husband, Bill (1994); her two sisters, Irene Jordan (2005); and Dolly Wurm (2008); and her two brothers, Donald (1991); Elwood (2009).
Bonnie is survived by her children, Kent of Clearwater, BC, Brenda (Jack) Wookey of Ft. St. James, BC, Nona(Nathan) Pahl of Redwater, AB, Laurel (Wayne) Johnson of San Clemente, Ecuador, Elaine (Bobby) Bennett of Kamloops, BC and Gregg of Hythe, AB; eighteen grandchildren, Lisa, Darren, Doug, Donna, Tom, Jeff, Lauren, Heather, Cheryl, Sheldon, Dustin, Ashley, Brandt, Maggie, Mitchell, Shannell, Megan, and Brandon; fifteen great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mom grew up on the family homestead in Reno, Alberta a few miles south of Evansburg. She shared with us many stories from those early years like surviving the harsh winters and blizzards of Alberta. Mom's family lived in Reno until her father suffered a serious heart attack. This forced the family to sell the farm and move to Entwistle, a community across the river from Evansburg, Alberta. It was here that she met her future husband, William John Messenger (Bill). They went to school together in a one-room schoolhouse. Dad did everything to get Mom's attention like pulling her hair, throwing spit balls at her across the classroom or trying to trip her as she walked past his desk. One of the great loves of her life was her music, which was influenced by her parents. During their teen years, Mom and her brother, Doug, began playing the guitar and harmonizing together. The neighbors enjoyed their music so much they would often invite them to play for their gatherings. Dad joined them (on the drums) and they formed a local band called "The Entwistle Happy Gang". They were even invited to play and sing on a radio station in Edmonton, Alberta. Eventually, Dad won his band-mates heart and they were married on August 28th, 1948.
After the wedding, Mom boarded a train and joined Dad in Clearwater BC. Their experience with their former band led them to play for the community dances at various halls throughout the valley. Many times, Mom mentioned having played along-side Davy Davidson, a well known musician in the area, for many of the community dances. Her love of music continued throughout her life. Later in life she took formal training on piano to the point of achieving “Honors with Distinction”. She enjoyed the privilege of teaching many young and older to play the piano and appreciate music. Into her final years she was still able to entertain the residents at her home in Redwater Health Centre, and Aspen Villa Morinville with beautiful music.
Mom and Dad were instrumental in helping get the local ski hill up and running in the 60’s. Mom organized the Ralph Nelson ski school and had a mini store at the ski hill where she sold mitts and goggles until her sister, Dolly, opened up the very first ski shop in Clearwater Flats. To help promote interest in skiing and the happenings at the local ski hill, Mom wrote the newspaper column "Sitzmarks" which was published in the North Thompson Times. All this while raising 6 children.
In Mom's early years of living on Stegg Road, her love for children overflowed to the kids on her street. Many times they would come and knock on her door and ask Dad, "Can Bonnie come out to play with us?"
Even in her senior years, the kids would still come and knock on the door and ask if they could have a tea party with her. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren had brought her much joy and happy memories over the years. Together they enjoyed the “little things in life”. Throughout Mom's life, she continued to show love and loyalty. First, by putting her family ahead of herself and second, by trying to help ease the pain others were going through. She would always lend a hand if it was in her power to do so. Mom instilled in us a love for our valley and to respect all life, human or wild. Hobbies included swimming in raft river where the water runs cold to warm Dutch lake, hiking, skiing, the Symphony with her family, exploring through the mountains she loved, discovering plants, animals and awe inspiring scenes, to creating a piece of paradise in her own backyard with her gardens and birds.
Mom started searching for a faith in her teen years. The beauties around made her want to get to know God more. One day Mrs. White showed up at her door in Clearwater, walking the railway tracks from East Blackpool. Bringing her the Bible message about a paradise earth where there would be no more suffering or death, peace among mankind, and the animals (Isaiah 65:17-25). She was surprised to learn that God had a name (Psalms 83:18). These truths drew mom to God that she dedicated her life to him July 11, 1953 taking on the name as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Mom taught us from the Bible we would be seeing her again, on the paradise earth, where we will once again share with her the Joys of life (John 5: 28,29). Though we are sad to lose our mother this Bible hope brings us much comfort.
As a family our deep appreciation and thanks go to Dr. Erasmus, the Nurses, and staff at Aspen Villa Morinville, and Redwater Health Centre. Despite her declining health Mom’s quality of life was exceptional due to the care from these health care professionals. We consider you all a blessing to the community.
A Celebration of Bonnie’s Life will be held in the Spring, in her beloved mountains, Clearwater, BC.