Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One white rat?

"Her early childhood was greatly influenced by World War II, in which her father served on Navy ships in the Pacific. In her teens and early adulthood, her life was one of a traditional Southern debutante in the post-World War II U.S. Navy world. She was known for her beauty, as her mother and maternal grandmother had been before her, and she won various beauty contests during her time at the University of New Mexico, from which she graduated in 1956. Far more importantly, however, as throughout her life, she was always an extremely strong-minded, outgoing, charismatic person, with an agile intellect and an out-sized and vivid personality; she was a formidable force to be reckoned with in any setting.

"Beginning in the late 1960s, she became increasingly involved in various progressive causes, first and foremost, feminism, but she was also strongly committed to civil rights, peace and environmental causes as well. Among other things, she wrote a column on feminism during the 1970s for a New London Submarine Base newsletter, and taught adult education on the same topic at Robert E. Fitch Senior High School of Groton as well. She was deeply involved in the 1968 presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy. After her divorce, she decided to adopt the Bonney surname as a symbol of her commitment to feminist principles; it was the maiden name of her much-loved paternal grandmother, after whom she had been named, Winifred Bonney Davis, a suffragette.

"Ms. Bonney had several careers. Before her first marriage, she taught third grade in Pensacola, Fla. During her children's younger years, she was a stay-at-home mother. After her divorce, from 1976 to 1999, she worked as an editor for the Bureau of Business Practice, a division of Prentice-Hall. She held several positions in the local government of Groton. She also served on the Old Lyme Wetlands Commission from 1995 to 1998.

"For the remaining four decades of her life, she continued to be a fearless and passionate advocate of her views regarding the political and social issues of her day; indeed, despite declining health over the last decade, she remained deeply involved in, and vocal about, the many issues about which she fervently cared. She was a gifted writer and editor, a voracious reader, as well as a lover of crossword puzzles and double acrostics. She was also an artist and craftsperson (oil painting and knitting) and deeply interested in the arts. Moreover, she was a great animal lover. Her many pets over the years included many dogs, cats, birds, and tropical fish, and one white rat. In addition, she also was an avid traveler, visiting Europe and Israel in her thirties; she and Mr. Chester also travelled widely, visiting among other countries Sweden, Belize, Mexico, England, Wales, Italy, and Egypt."

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