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Bonnie Jean Benson

UNION PIER – Bonnie Jean Benson was a very special person. She was beautiful, she was kind, thoughtful, considerate, giving, and made everyone around her feel very special. She died August 30, 2021, following a brief illness.

Bonnie was born April 2, 1944, in Bryn Mawr, PA. Her parents were Grace (Grace Virginia Plotner) and Arthur Clinton Benson. Bonnie was also very close to her Auntie Doris-Doris Gardner. Bonnie grew up in Byrn Mawr, PA. Her high school graduating yearbook said of her, "a ray of sunshine spread around her" She continued her education at Colorado State University, graduating with a BA in 1967.

Bonnie loved all things "art". She quilted quilts and garments, the latter of which won national awards. She did art projects, belonged to Icons, a woman's art group of mixed media artists, which held periodic "art learning and sharing sessions" around the US and the world. Bonnie also loved to garden and put in countless hours making her garden in Union Pier MI a showcase. Bonnie traveled with family and friends around the world. Any museum, or church was a good place to visit. She enjoyed performances at the Chicago Symphony and Chicago Lyric opera.

A highlight of Bonnie's youth was spending part of her summers at Camp Bil-O-Wood in Ontario, Canada. She continued to support and visit the camp throughout her life. Bonnie was very philanthropic in the southwest Michigan area and significantly in Berrien County, supporting not only the Michiana Humane Society, but other worthy and needy charitable organizations. Her estate will continue that desire to help others in need. Additionally, Bonnie supported charities in San Miguel Allende, Mexico for children and families.

Bonnie started with a summer cottage in Union Pier Michigan which she turned into a permanent home years later. She loved the beach, friends, and working in her garden. She also had a second home in San Miguel Allende, Mexico.

Bonnie was a very successful business professional. Following college, Bonnie worked for Sears in the Philadelphia area, then was promoted to NYC headquarters for Women's Wear, where she was in the Jewelry department. Bonnie followed Sears to Chicago when it consolidated its NY Women's Wear departments. Bonnie left Sears as a Senior Buyer of its jewelry department. At this point of transition, she turned her quilting avocation into a quilting vocation by founding Quilters Resource, Inc, QRI. QRI grew quickly and successfully both nationally and internationally and was eventually sold to Bernina of Switzerland.

The love of Bonnie's life were her two dogs, Cheyenne and Casey. Bonnie's love of animals, especially dogs, led to her involvement and support of the Michiana Humane Society where she served as Treasurer, and then Chair.

In lieu of flowers, Bonnie asked that donations be made to the Michiana Humane Society, 722 Indiana 212, Michigan City, IN 46360.

Published by Harbor Country News on Sep. 16, 2021.
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I knew Bonnie as “BJ” ; she was my camp counselor during several summers I spent at Camp Bil-o-Wood in Blind River, Ontario, Canada. She was a true leader, compassionate to all, extremely knowledgeable, and I hold very fond memories of times spent with her.
Suzanne (Diehl) Carter
October 6, 2021
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