Bonnie Jean Emrick

June 11, 1948March 11, 2023
Obituary of Bonnie Jean Emrick
The family of Bonnie Jean Emrick is sad to announce her passing on March, 11 2023 at the age of 74. A memorial service will be held to honor her life at Surprise Funeral Care on Thursday, March 16th at 1:00 p.m. Bonnie was born June 11, 1948 in Bemidji, Minnesota to Wayne and Viola Derby. She was the middle child of three other sisters. Her two oldest sisters were twins, Sharon and Shirley and their youngest sister is Donna. The Derby Girls, as they were known in the family, were a force to be reckoned with. The sisters shared a close bond, forged in part because their family moved so often during their childhood. With Bonnie’s passing, Donna is the sole surviving Derby Girl. Bonnie graduated from high school in Rapid City, South Dakota and attended the South Dakota School of Mines for a year. She then transferred to Chadron State College, in Chadron, Nebraska where she graduated in 1969 with her bachelor’s degree. Chadron State is also where she met John Letts, who she married in 1970. Her daughter, Rhonda, was born in 1974 and soon after, her second daughter, Connie arrived in 1975. John’s work as a community college administrator took them to Sheridan, Wyoming where they spent several happy years. Bonnie took a job as a middle school math teacher, which began her long, fulfilling career in education. Sadly, Bonnie and John parted ways in 1982. When her former neighbor, Garen Emrick, asked her out for a date, her younger daughter Connie pointed out that it was the neighborly thing to accept his invitation. Garen proposed to Bonnie shortly after their first date, but it took her until 1984 to make things official. They got married in Sheridan, Wyoming and were together for the rest of their lives. Bonnie’s career in education took a major leap forward when she earned her doctorate in education from the University of Wyoming in 1998, thanks in part to Garen’s unwavering support. He was always happy to follow her from opportunity to opportunity as her career grew. They moved from Sheridan, Wyoming to Lamar, Colorado and then to DePere, Wisconsin as career opportunities arose for Bonnie. They thought they had moved for the last time when they retired and began to fix up their home on a golf course in Sun City, AZ. It was a dream retirement for Bonnie, made up of golf games, quilting club, cruises, cocktail hours and good friends. Bonnie and Garen spent 38 years together before Garen passed away, 10 days before Bonnie. They were inseparable in life and now they are at rest together again. Bonnie is survived by her daughters and their families; Rhonda and Joe Pawlicki and their son Connor of Denver, Colorado; Connie and Tim Allen and their children Will and Ella of Little Suamico, Wisconsin; and her sister, Donna Phillips, of North Platte, Nebraska and her family. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Emrick family.

Show your support

Past Services

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Memorial Service