Bonnie Jean Anderson, loving wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, businesswoman, volunteer, kidsitter, renowned cookie baker, and generous friend to many, died Saturday, March 14. She was 56.
Bonnie had a mighty heart that she threw into many endeavors, volunteer projects and relationships throughout her life. She especially loved children, giving gifts, baking, movies, lattes with her girlfriends, being a grandmother and, most of all, time spent with her best friend and husband, Howard.
Countless children have been warmed by Bonnie's hand-crocheted baby blankets through the years, and many of us have been happily gifted with Ziplock bags full of her famous chocolate chip cookies and "bonscotti." Bonnie was an inspirational force in many of our lives, always sending encouraging emails and greeting cards, cheering us up and cheering us on with her thoughtful words. Her two-year-old granddaughter recently noted that her GaGa is "a good giver," which neatly summed up what Bonnie's life was about.
Bonnie was born in Spokane, WA, on June 2, 1952. She graduated from Auburn High School in 1970 and attended Western Washington University for a year, where she met Howard Anderson and fell so madly in love, she dropped out and married him on December 18, 1971, in Kent, WA. They moved to Forks, WA, in 1975 and lived there for 22 years, raising their daughter, Jamie, running a business together and volunteering in the community.
She was a partner with her husband in Anderson Electric. She also owned and operated the couple's appliance business and a local art and gift shop called Northwest Select. She was president of the Forks Chamber of Commerce for two years, served on the Forks City Council in the mid-1990s and was also active in the Forks chapter of the Soroptimists International, the Rainfest community festival, an artist collective called Arts in Action and with a close-knit group of women who walked around the high school track every morning at 5:30, rain or shine, for many years.
Bonnie and Howard moved to Mount Vernon in 1997 and purchased the Colonial Manor Bed & Breakfast, and, though they tried at first to resist, were quickly involved in volunteer work here. Bonnie continued as a partner in Anderson Electric and also worked as the downtown director for the Mount Vernon Downtown Association. In that role, she ran the Tulip Festival Street Fair and organized Christmas and Fair parades, among other duties. She continued as Street Fair Director after stepping down as downtown director.
She volunteered for the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce and later served on its board. She was a member of Mount Vernon Noon Rotary, and in that organization was a sapphire Paul Harris fellow. She was in the Leadership Skagit inaugural class of 2004 and then continued to recruit for and volunteer for the program. She participated in the Mount Vernon Schools Principal for a Day program. She was a finalist for the 2005 SWAN Award. She helped in founding the Children's Museum of Skagit County and served on its advisory board.
She was active in the Skagit Land Trust, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, the Lincoln Theatre, the Children's Orthopedic Guild, the Children's Museum of Skagit County, Children's Fund and the Celtic Arts Foundation. She volunteered in organizing the annual brew festival in support of the Lincoln Theatre.
Bonnie is survived by her husband Howard; daughter Jamie, son-in-law Bob and granddaughter Olive June of Eugene, OR; her mother Dorothy Embery of Sedro-Woolley and her companion Richard Joneli; four brothers: Kenneth Embery of Eugene, OR, Brian Embery and his wife Susan of Auburn, Steve Embery and his wife Sandy of Kent; and James Embery and his wife Francesca, of Scottsdale, AZ; many nieces and nephews; her adopted grandson Will O'Bryan; and more friends than we can mention.
A celebration of her life is planned for Friday, March 20, at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mount Vernon at 11 a.m. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Children's Museum of Skagit County, 550 Cascade Mall Drive, Burlington, WA, 98233.
Please share your thoughts of Bonnie and sign the online guest register at www.hawthornefh.com.
Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home, 1825 E. College Way, Mount Vernon.