Bonnie Claire Williams Hennes
A Strong, Loving Woman
Bonnie Claire Hennes went to heaven after a courageous fight with cancer on Sunday, November 20, 2016. In accordance with her wishes, she was able to spend her last days in her home, surrounded by the family that she raised and cherished.
She was born in Burlington, North Dakota on August 21, 1927 to Eva Pearl and Richard Dee Williams. She was the only girl in the family, raised with her five brothers on farmland that her parents homesteaded. As a young girl she learned the skills that served her well throughout the rest of her life – raising gardens, canning, cooking, baking and serving the threshing crews on the family farm. She was an excellent cook and loved to pile the kitchen table high to feed anyone that happened to show up at mealtime. No one ever went hungry in Bonnie’s kitchen.
Bonnie graduated from Des Lacs High School at the age of 16 and went on to business college. She was recruited to teach school during the war when she was just 17 years old. Rural North Dakota required more than teaching the ABC’s. She came early to the one-room schoolhouse to start the wood stove, haul water and perform janitorial duties. When the weather closed roads to most travel, she caught a ride with the mail carrier in order to be there to teach her students.
When the war ended she met Alois (AJ, Al) Hennes, who would become her forever partner. They married on July 31, 1947 in Olympia, Washington, and began their lifelong adventure together. They lived in Missoula for a short time, then returned to Des Lacs and started their family - three children in three years – Randy, Deanna and Annette. Surviving North Dakota blizzards with no running water, no electricity, and three children in diapers, she honed the toughness, tenacity and spirit that she carried throughout her life.
Extended family and work opportunity brought them to Montana, first to Stevensville where their 4th child Mark was born, and then to Missoula. For health reasons the family of six moved to Chandler, Arizona, where their 5th child Brian was born. After two years the family returned to Montana and settled west of Missoula as part of the Frenchtown community, where they have lived for the last 50 years.
Bonnie was an amazing role model for her five children, ten grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, along with many others who had the good fortune to cross her path. In addition to raising her family, she was employed as a bookkeeper for several Missoula businesses for more than 40 years. She always found time to support the kids and grandkids at their sporting events, school plays, concerts, 4-H shows and community events. She loved nothing more than having a kitchen full of family and friends, food, chatter, laughter and love.
All of us feel privileged to be a part of her life:
Randy (Dyana) Hennes, Josh (Jenny) their sons Tyler, Troy and TJ; Davida (Jason) and son Max, Whitney (Mario) DiFronzo
Deanna (Jon) Parker, Erin and children Cecelia and Gus; Ian (Erin Rose); Christopher (Ashley) and son Brayden
Annette (Mike) Doyle, Rachel LaCasse (George Mullen) and children Kiley and Keegan; Chad (Zephanie) and children Zavier and Zenelle; Shane (Kristie) LaCasse and children MacKenzie and Kadin
Mark (Joey) Hennes, sons Andy (Val) Hennes and daughters Libby, Bailey and Lexi; Benjamin Hennes (Chris Brown)
Brian Hennes (Ed Bonilla)
Bonnie touched the lives of many and was the favorite auntie to many nieces and nephews. She held a special place in her heart for the Williams family – Dennis, Bonnie Jo, Alan and Kenny, and their families.
A private family service will be held to honor her life. She will be laid to rest with her loving husband of 68 years, Alois, at Sunset Memorial Gardens, under the tree he selected especially for them.
Memorial donations can be made to Camp Make-A-Dream or Partners in Home Care Hospice.