Early, Helen Marie Thomas (Bonnie)
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July 23, 1926 - April 15, 2014
Helen Marie (Bonnie) Thomas Early of Sarasota was born on July 23, 1926 in Washington, D. C. to Thomas and Beniti Thomas. She passed away peacefully on April 15, 2014 in Tallahassee, FL.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles E. (Jubal) Early II; and by her three sisters, Lucille Dabbs, Bette McCarthy, and Maryann (Billie) Jennings. She is survived by her son Charles E. Early III (Mary Anne) of Bradenton, FL; her daughter Dr. Mary E. Swain (Jeffrey) of Tallahassee, FL; three grandchildren, Camille M., Kathryn V., and Patrick L. Swain; as well as many nieces, nephews, and other extended family. She was deeply loved by her family and we rejoice that she is at eternal peace with The Lord.
Bonnie attended high school at Academy of Notre Dame in the nation's capital. As a young woman during World War II, Bonnie served as a volunteer at Bethesda Naval Hospital, where she met her future husband, Charles. After the war, she worked for auto dealerships in Washington, D.C. and later Jacksonville, FL where she moved to be closer to Charles while he attended law school at the University of Florida. She later enrolled at UF as well. They married and moved to Sarasota in 1950.
Bonnie was very active in Sarasota's community affairs. She was a charter member instrumental in forming the Junior Welfare League of Sarasota in 1957 and served as President in 1966. She was on the board of the Florida West Coast Symphony, Sarasota Day Nursery, and The Players Theater where she also served as stage manager for the theater's first musical, Carousel, in 1955. She was a founder of the Sarasota Guidance Clinic and was a member of PEO. She also served as a secretary in the production department for the 1952 Cecil B. DeMille film classic "The Greatest Show on Earth" for location shoots in Sarasota. She worked in her husband's law office at various times throughout the years.
She was a member of First United Methodist Church and later attended Church of the Redeemer, often going to Sunday services at both. She was an accomplished bowler, bowling a perfect 300 game while playing in the Field Club League at Sarasota Lanes in the late 1960s. She played tennis for 40 years until an arm injury forced her to stop. She loved to play bridge, mostly duplicate bridge at the Field Club, and enjoyed being a member of the "Lunch Bunch".
Services will be held Saturday, April 26th at 3:00 PM at First Church, 104 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL. A Gathering of Family and Friends will take place following the memorial service. The internment service will be private. The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Junior League of Sarasota Arrangements made by Toale Brothers Funeral Home.
Published in Herald Tribune from Apr. 23 to Apr. 24, 2014