Born, Bonnie B. Brown, on a farm near Garland, Wy., September 11, 1918, she attended school through 7th grade at the Garland school. She continued her education in Powell and graduated with the Powell High School class of 1936 where she was valedictorian and recipient of the coveted Balfour Award. She attended Los Angeles City College for two years, then enrolled in nurses training at LA County General Hospital, graduating in 1942 as president of her class and continued working there as an RN for 2 1/2 years.
She met Loren Hiller in the summer of 1937 while delivering eggs, with her mother, to the Garland Mercantile and they were later married in Los Angeles, CA on January 27, 1945. They lived in Martinez, CA from Feb-Oct 1945 where Loren was stationed with the Navy at Port Chicago and Bonnie worked as a nurse at the Martinez Hospital. Because of their love for Wyoming and upon Loren’s discharge from the Navy, they returned to the Garland community in October 1945 to start a family. She spent the next 17 years raising five daughters, planting large gardens each summer, canning and freezing many fruits and vegetables and tending to 500 gladiolas bulbs. She also possessed a love for baking and was known for her sour cream cookies and lemon meringue pies.
On September 1, 1962, Bonnie returned to work as a registered nurse at the Powell Hospital, spending most of the next 21 years in obstetrics helping deliver two generations of babies. She compassionately cared for every new mother and always said that she truly loved every minute of her job. In her early years of nursing she was Treasurer of the Powell Nurses Association.
As a result of her zest for life, she was actively involved in many community organizations and groups up to the last few months of her life. She delighted in serving on the Powell High School Alumni Committee for many, many years and was passionate about keeping the local all school reunion in existence.
She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 64 years, having joined in 1949. She served as Unit President, District President, Unit Treasurer, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Past President’s Parley. She loved distributing poppies at the Powell Post Office, and always helped with the Cherry Pie luncheon. She enjoyed attending the State Convention every year and acquired many friends whom she continued to correspond with throughout the years.
A lifelong member of Union Presbyterian Church, Bonnie was strong in her faith and even stronger in her beliefs. She served in many capacities in the church including teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, served as an Elder on the Session for two terms, and cooked meals for Wednesday night dinners. She was a devoted member of Presbyterian Women and Whitman Circle, serving as Treasurer for most of her tenure. She had a yearning to increase her knowledge of the bible and felt the need to attend almost any bible study that was offered.
“In her spare time” she enjoyed bowling, reading, crossword puzzles, playing games, Fine Arts Club, Community Concerts, and attending her children’s and grandchildren’s school activities. She took pride in the fact that she was able to attend all of her grandchildren’s high school graduations.
Bonnie’s greatest asset was her love and dedication to her family. She was an ideal example of how to live your life the right way, with dignity, honesty, grace, and a little sass. She is survived by her five daughters, Sandra (Vechel) Olson-of Wales, MI; Cathy (Rick) Worman of Clearmont, WY; Marilyn Hiller; Sheri (Bob) Gifford all of Powell ; and Trish Severson of Belgrade, MT. Nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren also survive her along with several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Loren, son-in-law, Dan Severson, two sisters and two brothers.
At her request, cremation has taken place and a memorial service to celebrate Bonnie’s life will be held Friday, October 11 at 2:00pm at the Union Presbyterian Church. If you so desire, memorials may be made to Union Presbyterian Church or Powell Valley Hospice.