Obit: Kitzhaber, Bonita “Bonnie” Marie #2 (1940 - 2013)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Kitzhaber, Steltenpohl, Ver Hagen, Abel, Opal, Matthews, Follmar

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/12/2013

Kitzhaber, Bonita “Bonnie” Marie (1 August 1940 - 8 June 2013)

Bonita “Bonnie” Marie Kitzhaber (nee Ver Hagen), 72, died peacefully at the Clark, County Health Care Center, Owen, Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Bonnie was born Aug. 1, 1940, in Chili to Vera (Steltenpohl) and Howard Ver Hagen. Her family farmed in Chili and later Willard, where she met Ronald Kitzhaber of Greenwood. At the end of her junior year of high school, Bonnie’s family moved to Antioch, IL, where she graduated from high school. Despite graduating in Illinois, Bonnie always considered herself a 1958 graduate of Greenwood High School, where she received the majority of her education.

She married the love of her life, Ronald Kitzhaber, April 11, 1959, in Antioch and for a brief time, she worked at a bank. In 1961, Bonnie and Ron moved to Greenwood where they farmed and raised their children, Nick, Randy, Mike, Kenny and Lisa. Baby Lawrence died in infancy in 1968. Bonnie and Ron Kitzhaber farmed until Ron’s death in 2003. Bonnie continued to live on the farm after her son Kenny and his wife Jodi and their family bought the farm in 2004. She entered the Clark County Health Care Center in April 2013.

Bonnie enjoyed cooking and spending time with her family and friends. She was a fabulous and inventive cook and loves to sing and play the organ. Her family and friends remembered her for organizing large family events where they gathered around the table and ate good food, told stories and played cards. She taught Catechism for St. Mary’s Catholic Church and was a member of the St. Ann’s Society. She was devoted to her husband and children. In 1991, she earned a nursing assistant diploma from Chippewa Valley Technical College and enjoyed and took great pride in a career caring for disable and elderly clients.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Bonnie was frequently taken out to lunch and visited friends, especially her dear and patient friend Donna Abel. The Kitzhabers will forever remember all of the kind individuals who visited, called and sent cards to Bonnie while she was homebound and at the Clark County Health Care Center. All of the note and cards were hung up and in constant view so Bonnie would know she was loved and cared for my so many.

Her children will forever remember her as a wonderfully opinionated mother. She was a loving grandmother to Stephanie, Nicole, Katelyn, Kailey, Konner, Kinsey, Tyler, Brandon, Kasi, Ryan, Heather and Lindsey and eight great-grandchildren.

Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents, a son Lawrence in 1968, as well as her husband Ron and a brother Gary, both in 2003.

She is survived by her children, Nick (Jeannine), Coon Rapids, MN, Randy (Tracy), Mike (Cheryl) and Kenny (Jodi) all of Greenwood, and Lisa Kitzhaber, of Withee. In addition, she is survived by her siblings, Virginia (Howard) Opal, Wausau, Gene (Geri) Ver Hagen, Antioch, IL, Cheryl (Alan) Matthews, Minnetonka, MN, and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenwood, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at 1 p.m. with a visitation two hours prior to the services. Rev. Joseph Follmar and Rev. Keith Kitzhaber officiated. Pallbearers were her grandchildren. Burial took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greenwood.

Memorials may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.

Online condolences may be expressed at  Cuddie Funeral Home of Greenwood assisted the family with arrangements.



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