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1948 - 2017 Obituary Condolences

1948 - 2017

Bonny Lou Hulsy passed away peacefully at home in the comfort of family, friends and cherished caregivers. She was 68 years young.

She would like you all to know that her work here is finished. She received a very special call and was asked to take her talents elsewhere. A new mission. While negotiations were hard fought, she ultimately received an offer she could not refuse, for an appointment from which she will not be returning. The offer comes with an extraordinary opportunity to reunite with dear family and friends, some of whom she has not seen in a long time. She will be taking up permanent residence in an epically beautiful and peaceful coastal location, atop a quiet green hill far, far away, where light, laughter and goosebumps abound, and love and happiness are guaranteed. She has been given special permission to check in on those family and friends she is leaving behind as often as she would like, and given full authority to wipe away their sadness and fill their broken hearts with peace and serenity. She has been appointed Guardian Angel of the First Order, where she will keep close watch over her beloved husband, children, grandchildren, family and friends, and those on Earth struggling with severe disabilities, who desperately seek love, peace and healing. She wants us all to know that she will be waiting to see us, upon our call, reunited together again in kisses, bear hugs, and tear-filled elation.

Bonny was born on a cold morning, December 19, 1948, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the eldest child and only daughter, of John (Jack) Charles Rose and Irene Elizabeth Rose (Bragg). Jack and Irene soon moved the family to Santa Monica, California, later moving to Lancaster and ultimately Bakersfield. During this transition, they had a son, Bonny's only brother, Gordon John Rose. The Rose family built a home on Norris Road, just down the street from Mary Pound's Market, where Bonny would spend her days riding her horse "Honey" through the open fields of northwest Bakersfield. Frequent boating and water skiing trips during the summer to Lake Shasta and Lake Isabella turned Bonny into an expert water skier. She was a majorette at North High School, where she graduated in 1967.

Bonny married Richard Alsop in 1968, and together have two sons, Ryan John Alsop and Chase Martin Alsop. Following their divorce, and after enrolling in the nursing program at Bakersfield College, Bonny passed her state Registered Nurse (RN) exam in 1979. She began her career at San Joaquin Memorial Hospital caring for those afflicted with cancer. She remarried on March 22, 1980, to aspiring Bakersfield attorney, James Richard Hulsy, who had just passed the state bar examination. They have two children together, Kaitlin Elizabeth Hulsy and Caroline Rose Hulsy. During their 37 years of marriage, Bonny and Jim had many amazing adventures traveling throughout the world, including memorable stops in Italy and Costa Rica. They particularly loved spending time with family and friends in Maui, Carmel and Pismo Beach, which they did frequently.

The family's life was forever changed when Bonny and Jim's daughter, Caroline, was diagnosed with autism. Bonny quickly immersed herself in the study of this disorder, and began a journey that would become her life's work, and legacy. Unsatisfied with the lack of services for children with autism in Kern County, Bonny, and her dear friend Jolene Billinger, who also had a child with autism, founded the Valley Achievement Center (VAC) in 1998, to provide children with autism and other developmental disabilities, and their families, an educational setting in which they would thrive. Over the last two decades, VAC has grown dramatically to provide a wide variety of educational, behavior modification and socialization day programs for both children and adults of all ages affected by autism and other developmental disabilities. Today, VAC has four facilities and close to 300 amazing employees in Bakersfield.  Continuing on her path as a special needs warrior, Bonny spent the last 20 years of her career as an RN with Kern Regional Center, taking calls at home nearly every night from parents of children with autism and other special needs. She was a compassionate ear and voice to parents in despair, and a fierce advocate and defender of those afflicted.

Bonny was preceded in death by her father, Jack, and her much-loved stepfather, Kermit Bunch Bragg. She leaves behind her husband, Jim, her mother Irene, her brother Gordy, her four children, Ryan, Chase, Kaitlin and Caroline, her three grandchildren, Hannah, Lily and Eoin, and her daughter-in-law, Melissa, along with many other close family and friends that she loved and admired dearly.

Despite a bleak prognosis following her brain cancer diagnosis in March of 2013, Bonny was able to live several years beyond the time the vast majority of patients in her condition typically live. She had extra time to visit with family and friends, to travel, eat, drink, walk and laugh. A very special thank you to Dr. Remmes of Bakersfield, and her staff, for her years of care, and to Dr. Liau and Dr. Cloughesy of UCLA, both world-renowned physicians, who helped give Bonny additional time here with us all. Thank you to Jean Schamblin and the nurses at Alternative Care, Monica, Darlene, Ann, Elvira, Jessica and Maria for your tender grace, devotion and vigilance in caring for Bonny, you will not be forgotten. Thanks to Stephanie Mull for her years of assistance caring for Bonny. Thank you to Bonny's sister-in-law, Barbara Fowler, nieces, Brenna Charatsaris and Shannon Fowler, and close friends Cheri Cooper, Linda Johnson, Melvina Mull, Teresa Farmer and Roger Cook for your love and devotion to Bonny, Jim and the Hulsy family through this difficult time.

Her Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, November 17, at St. Francis of Assisi Church, located at 900 H. Street, in Bakersfield. A reception for family and friends will immediately follow.

You can honor Bonny, and her family, by donating to the Valley Achievement Center at www.autism-vac.org.


Published in Bakersfield Californian from Nov. 5 to Nov. 12, 2017
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