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Bonita "Bonnie" Stahler

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Funeral services for Bonita "Bonnie" Stahler will be held Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Assumption Catholic Church in Morris. Father Peter VanderWeyst will be officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m., with a rosary at 6:30 and prayer service at 7:00, at Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris, and for one hour prior to services at the church on Friday. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Morris.

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Bonita Gayle Stahler was born in St Paul on Aug. 12, 1918 to parents Roy Harrison Giberson and Ellen Ostrom Giberson, long time residents of Morris.

Bonnie attended Morris Public Schools, graduated from Morris High School 1936. She attended Doane College, in Crete Nebraska and graduated from University of Minnesota with distinction, in 1972 with a degree in Human Services. After Bonnie graduated from UMM she was employed by the Villa of St. Francis under Sister Prixida where she established the first Social Service Department. She found her work there very rewarding.

Bonnie was married to Tom Stahler from Alberta on January 4th 1941. Tom practiced law in Morris, served as County Attorney and was a District Judge for the state of Minnesota for 16 years. He died on Jan. 6, 2000, two days after their 59th wedding anniversary. This union was blessed by four daughters Susan, Patricia, Coleen, Merrilee and the honor of sharing in the raising of two nephews, Michael and Daniel, and one niece, Bonnie Ann. This blended family was one of Bonnie's greatest joys.

Bonnie lived most of her life in Morris, where she was active in community affairs. She was leader of Cub Scouts and Blue Bird troops; a member of Parent Teacher Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary, Stevens County Historical Society and Museum, the Students Club, the Assumption Catholic Church, St. Martin's Mission Circle and a Monday Faith Circle. She was secretary of the Stevens County DAC for five years and a long time member of the Pomme De Terre Golf Club.

She was preceded in death by her parents Roy Harrison Giberson and Ellen Ostrom Giberson; four brothers Donald, Jerry, Elwood & Dean Giberson, one sister Margaret Stahler one granddaughter Stephanie Pierce, and three infant great grandchildren Irene, Isaac, Jacob and Andrew.

Bonnie is survived by one sister, Sharon Marler (Bud), Ashland, Oregon; four daughters, Susan DuPay (Jim), Cambridge; Patricia Buckle (Mike), Hammond, Wis.; Coleen Behm (Tom), Marshall; and Merrilee Stahler, Morris; two nephews, Michael Stahler (Pat) Sierra City, Calif.; Dan Stahler (Valerie), Cannon City Colo.; and one niece, Dr. Bonnie Ann Wilson, Fremont, Calif.; grandchildren David (Jenny), Deidre (Allison), Michele, Tom (Maria), Mollie (Ken), Rachel (Kate), Erin (Michael), Tim (Erica), Mari (Ryan), Dan (Lisa), Katie (Edel), Patrick, Sarah (Todd), Amy (Tyler), Michael (Kari), John, Bonny (Zac), and Charlie; great grandchildren Julia, Rachel, Ian, Grace, Hannah, Chase, Luke, Gretta, Ezekial, Sirocco, Savanna, Thomas, Catherine, Ivan, John, Caleb, Simon, Zachariah, Gavin, Hunter, Bryter, Ayden, Kallee, Armando, Marin, Madeline, Caid, Estela, Amaya, Aidan, Cora, Joshua and many beloved nieces and nephews.

She is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Ann Dorweiler, Chokio and Marjorie (Elwood) Giberson, Rochester; and one brother-in-law Dr. Paul Stahler, Jordan.

There was never a dull moment in the Stahler household, reflecting the deep love Bonnie felt for all her children and their descendents. During the year, Bonnie and Tom attended football games, wrestling matches, class plays, speech contests, chorus performances, high school and college graduations, and many other joyous family events. Five generations of families spent summers at the family cabin on Lake Minnewaska swimming, fishing, sailing and water skiing. Aug. 12, 2009 Bonnie was surrounded by family as she blew out ninety-one candles for her birthday at the cabin.

Bonnie and her husband Tom had a deep appreciation of nature and the environment. In 2002 they gifted a parcel of prairie land to the University of Minnesota to be used as a teaching prairie for generations of UMM students and faculty to come. Together, Bonnie and Tom spent hours bird watching both at home in Morris and eventually, after his, retirement, followed the migration south to Texas to the beautiful parks along the Rio Grande River.

Bonnie will be remembered for her grace and compassion; her humble, accepting and welcoming nature; love of family and home; her optimism, joy and delight in life; curiosity and sincere interest in the stories of the people around her; her generous capacity to listen and nurture others; sense of adventure and world travels that she eloquently documented in her personal journals and letters; continuous intellectual development for herself and her family; and her emotional and financial support of her children, grandchildren and extended family in pursuit of their education and dreams.

Her entire family wishes her well on her new journey and sends their love.

Pallbearers for the service will be "All of Bonnie's Grandchildren". Deb Mahoney will serve as organist for the service, with Katie Fernandez and Ken Hodgson providing the vocals. Pedersen Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

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