Bonnie Joyce Rogers
Last updated 6/10/2020 at 4:05pm | View PDF
Bonnie Joyce Rogers of La Crosse, Wis., a former longtime resident of Hinsdale, passed away peacefully May 15, 2020, at Bethany Riverside Care Center in La Crosse with her daughter by her side.
Bonnie, 92, was born in 1927 in Oak Park to Walter and Erma Grosser, the middle child of three daughters. She attended Oak Park High School, graduating as valedictorian in 1944, and went on to Mills College, in Berkeley, Calif., where she earned a liberal arts degree in music as a voice major in 1948.
Bonnie met her future husband Bill went she was still in high school. Bill went off to war in Europe, flying P51s over Germany. They were married on Sept. 4,1948, living most of their working lives in Hinsdale, where they raised their children.
Once the youngest was in upper elementary school, Bonnie revived her own scholarship, earning a second degree in elementary education at Northern Illinois University. This led her to a 15-year teaching career at Madison School, across the street from her home in Hinsdale.
Bonnie loved teaching and thrived putting her energy into a career of her own. She taught with great passion, from the heart. Throughout her life, she loved being a student herself - a true lifelong learner who gobbled up a couple books per week well into her upper 80s.
She also loved people and could strike up a conversation with just about anybody. She often reminded each of her four children, "I am the president of your fan club." She gave her love freely and unconditionally and offered her broad and open mind as she lent an ear.
She had a great sense of humor, a true necessity for anyone spending a lifetime with her husband, Bill, and her trained soprano voice was beautiful. It gave her years of pleasure singing at church, in weddings and special occasions.
In 1973 Bonnie and Bill bought some acreage in southwest Wisconsin near the Kickapoo River and fulfilled their dream to live in a remote rural setting. In 1987-88 with the help of family, neighbors, and friends who traveled far and wide to help, a log home was built there, and the farm has served as a gathering place ever since.
In her high school graduation speech, entitled "The Rainbow Future," Bonnie addressed the importance of human diversity in society, how we all benefit and thrive as individuals and as a culture when we can accept, celebrate and learn from our differences. She was ahead of her time, as her message is so very relevant right now.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Rogers; and her older sister Jean Smith.
She is survived by her four children, Steve (Marilyn) Rogers, Laurie Rogers (Lisa Radtke, Jeff Bernardy), Tom (Cindy) Rogers, and Rick (Phyllis) Rogers; her six grandchildren, Karla (Mike) Lorincy and Valerie (Ryan) Borer, Heidi and Emily Rogers, and Travis and Erin Bernardy; her five great-grandchildren; her younger sister, Lois (Bill) Rex; her nieces and nephews.
A memorial gathering is planned a year from now when all can gather at the farm. Stories, memories or thoughts about Bonnie can be sent to Laurie Rogers at 30628 County Road 1, La Crescent, MN 55947, or to [email protected]; they will be read at the memorial gathering (please put Bonnie in the subject line).
Memorials may be sent to Laurie Rogers (at the address above) or made online to WAFER Food Pantry in La Crosse at https://waferlacrosse.org/how-to-help, North Presbyterian Church at https://www.npclax.org or Bethany Riverside Recreation Therapy Department at https://www.eaglecrestlife.org.