LaVonne Wathen, 71, formerly of Cokeville, passed away on Wednesday, April 3, at the home of her loving daughter Mondee Silva in Kingsburg, Calif.
Bonnie, as she was known, was born LaVonne Margaret Miller in Maywood, Ill., on Jan. 31, 1942, one of eight children born to Richard C. and Emma D. Miller. The family moved to Vallejo, Calif. in 1950 to be closer to medical care for her brother Robert, a paraplegic.
She married William (Bill) Edward Wathen on Jan. 26, 1959. Bill and Bonnie spent a tumultuous, exciting life together and welcomed three children, Mondee, Rick and Willie, into their family. Bonnie and Bill resided in a variety of California towns before moving to Cokeville in 1980 with Rick and Willie.
Their three children blessed them with 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Bonnie loved to collect knickknacks, dolls and dragons, and proudly displayed them in her home. She had a big heart and took in many different animals over the years. She loved being a part of the lives of her children whenever she could. She was thankful to be able to reconnect with a son, James Chapman, born before her marriage to Bill, and enjoyed getting to know and love him and his family. While she held many different jobs over the years, she got the most joy from her work refurbishing airplanes with her husband.
In her later years she was a treasured babysitter and had a hand in helping to raise many children. In 2011, after suffering several bouts of pneumonia, Bonnie moved from Cokeville to Kingsburg to live with her daughter. With the loving care of her family, she regained some of her good health and enjoyed gardening with her daughter.
Earlier this year she was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the Lord gave her enough time to have very special visits with each of her children. They all were blessed to have had wonderful talks and last pictures taken with her and she was able to enjoy personally giving some of her treasured dolls and dragons to her great-grandchildren.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her husband, William; her parents, Richard C. and Emma D. Miller; twin brothers Richard and Robert; her brother, Donald; and sister Dorothy Christiansen.
She leaves behind three sisters, Geraldine "Jerry" Metzger of California, Reta Schultz of Illinois and Leslie Wood of California; daughter Mondee (Mark) Silva of Kingsburg; three sons, Richard (Bernadine) Wathen of Dickinson, N.D., William (Angie) Wathen of Lawrence, Kan., and James (Marilyn) Chapman of Carmichael, Calif.; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.