Janet P. Bonnema


Janet P. Bonnema, 69

Janet P. Bonnema, age 69, of Okeechobee, died on May 9, 2008 at the Hospice of Okeechobee, Hamrick Home. Ms. Bonnema was a resident of Okeechobee for 18 years coming to work as a civil engineer for the South Florida Water Management District until her retirement in 2001.

She was born Nov. 24, 1938 and raised in Denver, Colo. by her parents, Peter and Helen Bonnema.

She loved skiing, motorcycle riding, piloting, rock climbing, parachuting and enjoying nature. She earned a master's degree in engineering from the University of Colorado. She was a role model for women's equality with a 1972 court case filed against the Colorado Highway Department which made it possible for women to be employed in tunnel engineering projects. This battle was recognized with an article describing the achievements in LIFE magazine and a subject of a chapter in a best selling book, "A Different Woman," written by the LIFE magazine reporter. She led an adventurous life with stints of living overseas in Vietnam, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Israel. She continued to enjoy traveling to different places in the world.

While at home in Okeechobee, Janet was active in the Presbyterian Church, local activities and multiple charitable causes. Living in Florida gave her the opportunity to engage in other favorite activities, including scuba diving, hiking in the Everglades, bike riding and tennis.

She is survived by two sisters, Harriet (John) Tamminga and Truda (Warren) Moreau; nine nieces, nephews and their families, and loving friends.

A cremation will take place in Okeechobee with no plans for local services. A memorial gathering followed by interment will be held at a later date in Denver, Colo.

Memorial contributions in Janet's memory may be made to Hospice of Okeechobee, 411 SE 4th Street.

Friends may sign the guest book at www.bassokeechobeefuneralhome.com

All local arrangements are entrusted to the care of Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home and Crematory.

Published in NewsZapFL on May 15, 2008