Bonita "Bonnie" Marie Kitzhaber (nee Ver Hagen) died peacefully at the Clark County Health Care Center, Owen WI on Saturday, June 8, 2013.
Bonnie was born on August 1, 1940 in Chili, WI to Vera (Steltenpohl) and Howard Ver Hagen. Her family farmed in Chili and later Willard, WI 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 on April 11, 1959 in Antioch and for a brief time, she worked at a bank. In 1961, Bonnie and Ron Kitzhaber 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 loved to sing and play the organ. Her family and friends remember 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 Technical College and enjoyed and took great pride in a career caring for disabled and elderly clients.
After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Bonnie was frequently taken out to lunch and visited by friends, especially her dear and patient friend Donna Abel. The Kitzhaber's will forever remember all of the kind individuals who visited, called and sent cards to Bonnie while she was home bound and at the Clark County Health Care Center. All of the notes and cards were hung up and in constant view so that Bonnie would know that she was loved and cared for by 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 brother Gary, both in 2003.
She is survived by her children Nick (Jeannine), Coon Rapids, MN, Randy (Tracy), Mike (Cheryl), Kenny (Jodi) all of Greenwood and Lisa Kitzhaber, of Withee, WI. In addition, she is survived by her siblings: Virginia (Howard) Opal, Wausau, WI, Gene (Geri) Ver Hagen, Antioch, IL, Cheryl (Alan) Matthews, Minnetonka, MN, and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenwood, on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm. There will be a visitation two hours prior to the start of the funeral service at the church. Rev. Joseph Follmar and Rev. Keith Kitzhaber will officiate. Pallbearers will be her grandchildren. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery in Greenwood.
Memorials may be given to the Alzheimer's Association or the American Cancer Society.