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Nancy Milliken Bonner

(Jan. 31, 1916, - Jan. 12, 2013)

Funeral services will be conducted Friday, Jan. 18 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Powell for Nancy Milliken Bonner, 96, who died Jan. 12 at the Powell Valley Care Center.

Father Ron Lytle will officiate at services and burial in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Nancy Milliken was born Jan. 31, 1916, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Herbert E. and Gertrude Elliott Milliken.  She grew up among the family orange groves of Covina, Calif., and graduated from Covina Union High School in 1933.

Nancy then enrolled at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and it was there that she met John D. Bonner. They were married Nov. 25, 1936, in Covina.

To this union were born five children. The couple’s first two children, Robert  Elliott Bonner and John D. (Dave) Bonner Jr., were born while the family lived in the Los Angeles area. In 1941, the family moved to Wyoming, settling in Powell, then a community barely 30 years old, but on the grow.  Three more children were born in Powell: Anne Bonner, James Arthur Bonner and Barbara Bonner.

The move to Wyoming was the beginning of a new life adventure. Her husband had grown up in Montana, and for him, this was a return to mountain country. For Nancy, the transplanted Californian, it was a whole new experience.

She adjusted to the contrasts in climate and small town living and joined in building a business and raising a family. Their retail store, Bonner’s Variety, was a fixture on the main street of Powell from 1941-1972.  Nancy supported the enterprise by keeping the books from home.

In the winter months of their early years in Powell, the nearly annual trips back to California were a particular delight for Nancy.

She brought with her from California her love of tulips, roses, peonies and other sun-loving perennial flowers.  Her garden spaces at each home in Powell were given over to flower beds that she tended with loving care.

Nancy grew to love the mountain majesty of Wyoming, its wildlife and wild flowers. To Nancy, the family cabin on Mormon Creek, which was virtually raised from the ground as a family endeavor, was a second home for more than 50 years.

Back home, one of her favorite pursuits of early summer was asparagus hunting on the ditchbanks of the surrounding area. She also enjoyed golfing and was a longtime participant in Tee and Tan Club activities.

She was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Epasc Club, Powell Fine Arts Club and the various bridge clubs with which she was enjoyably linked through the years.

Her husband, John, died in 1994.  She was also preceded in death by a brother, Art Milliken; a daughter-in-law, Diane Bonner; and a granddaughter, Jenny Bonner.

She is survived by her five children, Bob (Barbara) Bonner of Northfield, Minn., Dave (Sue) Bonner of Powell, Anne Bonner of Watsonville, Calif., Jim Bonner (Juli) of Albuquerque, N.M., and Barb (Jim) Luther of Farmington, N.M.; her brother, Jack Milliken of Covina, Calif.; 11 grandchildren, Tim Bonner of Northfield, Shelby (John) Wetzel of Powell, Brad (Yancy) Bonner of Cody and Toby Bonner of Powell; Collin (Julie) Bonner of Denver, Tiffony Bonner of Ft. Collins, Colo., and Rachel (Emory) Taylor of Albuquerque; Greg Luther and Emily Luther of Missoula, Mont., Kate (Matthew) Tripp of Capitola, Calif., and Robinson Green of Hollywood, Calif.; and 16 great-grandchildren,  Davis, Annabel and Bliss Bonner, Claire, Quin and Ben Wetzel, Kaitlin, Zoey and Brooke Bonner, Zacariaz and Remy Moffett, Lorian and Gillian Taylor, and Amelia, Noah and Eli Tripp.

For those who wish, the family would appreciate memorial gifts to the John and Nancy Bonner Scholarship in care of the Northwest College Foundation, 231 W. Sixth St., Powell, WY 82435.

Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be sent to the family at www.thompsonfuneral.net or P.O. Box 807, Powell, WY 82435.

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3 comments

  • posted by Jack Learned

    February 27, 2013 10:48 am

    It's impossible to think of wonderful Powell, Wyoming without remembering the Bonner's and the efforts they made to improve life for everyone. I am fortunate, indeed to have spent so many years enjoying their company in the majestic mountains of the Northfork. Nancy leaves an incredible legacy and I will remember her always.

  • posted by Hub Hart, Lt Col, USAF (Ret.), Class of 1959

    January 28, 2013 9:10 pm

    Gads- Where does one start when talking about such wonderful people of the Powell community. Bonner's was an anchor store. Bob, Dave and Anne: Your mother was a treasure. I still remember her presence in 'Bonner's'

    She raised three of the best of Powell's youth I was fortunate to grow up with not far from the Parks and will always remember.

  • posted by Anne Paddock Norskog

    January 23, 2013 8:51 am

    Bonner's was a favorite place to shop for many years.

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