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Bonita “Bonnie” Syverson

Remembering the Life of Bonnie Syverson

Bonita Faye Syverson (“Bonnie”/“Mom”/ “Bonnie-and-Dean”) went to the Lord on April 14, 2021 under the dedicated care of Hospice of the Red River Valley and Viking Manor Nursing Home in Ulen, MN. Bonnie was born on her family’s farm NE of Ulen, MN, the daughter of Olaf and Cora (Tollefsrud) Syverson on December 22, 1932.

She graduated from Ulen High School in 1950 with Dean Syverson (of the nearby “Round Barn Syversons”) who sat behind her and also was in the band with her. Having begun her studies at 17, she graduated St. Luke’s School of Nursing and became an RN at 20 having to wait until 21 to be licensed. Meantime, Dean attended agricultural classes nearby at NDAC (now NDSU), made a well-worn path to Bonnie’s school, attended her graduation ceremony and eventually proposed to her with a diamond engagement ring over a weekday lunch. (Bonnie said when she returned to her hospital duties after lunch that day, her co-worker said, “I didn’t know people got romantic in the daytime.”) She married Dean on Easter Sunday evening, April 10, 1955.

Bonnie worked at hospitals in Fargo, ND; Ada, MN; Bagley, MN; Columbus, GA; Fort Smith, AR; Linton, ND; Karlstad, MN and Thief River Falls, MN. In those days, the nurses started their day with singing hymns and The Lord’s Prayer so it could be heard throughout the hospital. An important doctor/mentor in her life told her that providing medical care was “a calling from God.” She never forgot that. When she was hired to run the nursing home in Fosston, MN, the board questioned her: “Do you think that you can make this nursing home operate on a given budget and make a profit?” She replied, “My only goal would be to provide good nursing care for the residents.” Another question was: “We know you have two young boys. Will that interfere with your job?” She said, “Yes, my family will always come before any job, but I know I can handle both.” She followed true to that her whole life as an awesome mom we are eternally grateful for.

She was a pioneer in home nursing at Thief River Falls, being the first nurse to work for the Inter-County Nursing Service. This new and challenging practice of home health work often involved end-of-life nursing, similar to the now common and wonderful hospice care she just received. Later, she blazed trails as an early qualified rehabilitation consultant for IntraCorp (now Cigna), helping workers at companies like Marvin Windows, Polaris and Artic Cat regain their physical strength or get reemployed in new work. Bonnie was excellent at her profession, took it seriously and often was the one who was looked upon to take on the tough assignments. (Personally, she also took on other adventurous assignments - from flying to motorcycle riding – all things she and Dean enjoyed together.)

Upon her retirement, Bonnie and Dean moved to Park Rapids, MN and enjoyed two decades together of lakeside living, piano playing, baking, walking, biking the Heartland Trail, canoeing and RVing together. They also wintered in Texas a few years and enjoyed many international cruises (6 continents). She and Dean were active volunteers with Calvary Lutheran Church, American Red Cross, DNR, and Hubbard County Food Shelf.

One of Bonnie’s most enjoyable pastimes was quilting. And, in typical Bonnie fashion, she brought her “can do” spirit to that as well, gifting friends and family and many others with all sorts of beautifully crafted quilts, too numerous to count. She looked forward to being with her group of quilters even more than the sewing!

Bonnie started her nursing career when there was no cure for polio and taking care of patients at the end of their lives. Ten years into her career, she administered vaccines for polio. Now more than 60 years later, her life has ended in the days of this new pandemic. In her last days, it was her friends and family - especially the Viking Manor caregivers - that stitched together a quilt of prayer and love for her.

Bonnie leaves behind sons Dwight (Nicki) of Park Rapids, MN and Dean (Andrea) of Black Forest, CO; special nephew Jon (Esther) Bromander of Detroit Lakes, MN; Dan Syverson (Mary Jo) of Coon Rapids, MN; Lisa Williams (Lester) of Arlington, TX and several additional nieces, nephews and cousins.

She is proceeded in death by Dean, her husband of 56 wonderfully adventurous years; her grandson Aaron Syverson; her parents; brother Rodney and Grace Syverson; sister Beatrice and Bob Bromander.

Her life will be celebrated how she would want it – simply - at the same church both her and her mom and dad were baptized, confirmed and married in - Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen on Thursday, April 29 at 10:30am. Covid protocol will be followed; unfortunately, no reception at this time.

Arrangements entrusted to Anderson Family Funeral Home  of Twin Valley. Online website and video tribute: www.andersonfamilyfh.com.

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