Written by Rose Burrows, First Cousin
Bonnie Rose Erickson suffered a quiet heart attack on the morning of March 19, while the staff at the Blue Valley Lutheran Home Care was attending to her morning’s arising. She was taken by ambulance to a Lincoln Hospital where she never regained consciousness, awaiting the Lord’s timing on the next day to pass from this life at the age of 78 into the eternal ages. Bonnie’s life-long search for acceptance, self-worth and balance was fulfilled on March 20, 2012, the first day of spring and the vernal equinox, when the hours of the day and night are equal and balanced. On that day, Bonnie’s unwavering faith carried her over the threshold to behold her beloved Savior who accepted her in His unconditional and everlasting embrace.
Bonnie Rose was the first child born to her parents, Opal Bertha (Rush) and Theodore Archibald Erickson, in Council Bluffs, Iowa on January 5, 1934. She was baptized in the Christian faith as a child on June 4, 1939, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Rushville. When Bonnie was eleven years old, her grandfather, John Rush, died suddenly of a heart attack in August of 1945, and she moved with her parents and brother Ted to farm his place north of Rushville. They operated it unfil the untimely death of Bonnie’s own father in September 1949, and the grieving family continued the operation for three years when they moved to Rushville. Bonnie schooled at Piety Hill grade school and graduated from Rushville High School in 1953. She was a member of Job’s Daughters and the Sisters of Rebekah and Royal Neighbors organizations. As an adult, she attended Morse Memorial Methodist Church.
Bonnie worked at various Rushville businesses while she resided with her mother Opal and was able to maintain her own apartment for a few years after her mother died in June of 1975. Her independence was made possible with the help of Rushville acquaintances and family who gave guidance and direction, but she was especially indebted to her cousin, Ed Hollstein, to her neighbor, Doris Winter, and to her mother’s acquaintance, John Nimmo, all who were instrumental in helping her structure her medications and life.
Finally Bonnie submitted to the care of area nursing homes, living at the last one in Hebron, Nebraska since 2005. The “campus” there had been built by Lutheran churches of the area which included an assisted living complex, a nursing home, and a special needs complex that accommodated Bonnie’s special medical needs. The staff expressed how they miss Bonnie’s “unique personality” and frankness. Bonnie did have a force of personality, and the witticisms she coined would sometimes border on deeper perceptions, such as: “Don’t ‘sundown’ me” or when she told a begging dog, “Go dig your own grave.” The staff used musical therapy and would sing Bonnie’s favorite song “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” to which Bonnie would join in with a few lines and a huge smile, but the song that really lightened her face and countenance was, “Jesus Loves Me!”
The people of the Rushville area who loved Bonnie Rose and have passed on are her parents, Opal and Ted Erickson; her grandparents, Rose (namesake) and John Rush; her great-grandparents, Karl and Bertha Fisher (Feldhahn); her aunt and uncle, Hazel (Rush) and Paul Burrows; and a first cousin, Edward Burrows. John Nimmo of Rhode Island has also passed on.
Bonnie’s brother, Theodore, survives her, living in Colorado Springs, Colo., as do her two nieces and a nephew, five of her first cousins and many other relatives and friends. A memorial graveside service is being planned when her cremains will be buried between her parents’ graves at Fair View Cemetery in Rushville, on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. at 11:00 a.m.
Donations in her memory can be sent to Blue Valley Lutheran Care Home, 755 South 3rd St, Hebron, NE, 68370.