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Serine Van Embden Bonnist

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Serine van Embden Bonnist, a resident of Sanibel Island since 1976, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, June 22, 2008. Born on November 2nd, 1915 in Amsterdam, Holland, Serine immigrated to the United State with her husband Donald in 1939.

An accomplished artist, Serine studied at Beaux Art in Paris and later at the Art Student's League in New York. Serine inspired many young artists in her Larchmont, NY studio where she taught prior to moving to Sanibel. She worked in many mediums; painting, sculpting, and printmaking. Although her works were widely exhibited, she was most proud to be shown with her local BIG Arts group formally known as the Barrier Island Group for the Arts. Serine was a talented linguist fluent in five languages. She taught at Berlitz, and in her late 80s was teaching French at BIG Arts on Sanibel. Serine and Donald were original members of BIG Arts, and were instrumental, with their peers, in its creation. Their love of classical music can be remembered by those who enjoyed the many concerts that Serine sponsored on the island. Serine worked along side her husband to found Donald Art Company.

Serine was preceded in death by her husband Donald and is survived by her three children; Vivien Cord, Randy Bonnist and Claudia Bonnist, 8 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. She was an inspiration to her family and her loss will be felt by all those who knew her and loved her.

A memorial celebration will be held later this year on Sanibel.

Anyone wishing to make donations in her name may do so to Doctors Without Borders, one of Serine's favorite charities.

Published in The News-Press on June 27, 2008
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