Bonni Rae Branson October 13, 1945-July 25, 2020
Bonni Rae Branson died of natural causes on July 25, 2020, at home in Newport, Oregon. She was 74.
Bonni was born in Longview, Wash., on Oct. 13, 1945, to Doris and James Conrad. She grew up in the coastal town of Newport as the middle of three children and graduated from Newport High School in 1963.
It was there, in her hometown by the sea, that Bonni met Jerald “Butch” Branson, the love of her life. A farm boy from Marshall, Okla., Butch hopped on a bus the night he graduated from high school and got off at Newport’s old Greyhound bus depot, now the historic Sylvia Beach Hotel, on a scenic bluff above the water.
Bonni and Butch met on a blind double date and were married in Newport on Feb. 1, 1964. He was an outdoorsman, a fisherman and hunter. She preferred to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee on a rainy day.
They had four children -- Kimberlee, Kerri, Jason, and Jeremy -- and raised them in Oregon, Idaho, and, finally, Oklahoma.
For Bonni, family was everything. When her children grew, she called all of them, and talked for hours. Her walls were always covered with photographs of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and she wrote cards for every birthday.
Bonni found great joy in laughing at her family’s notoriously dry humor. She loved coffee and sweets. She got a kick out of good-naturedly sparring with her beloved older brother, Jim Conrad, of Toledo, Ore., and going on shopping sprees with his wife, Rosemary, especially to Hobby Lobby.
Bonni was known for her homemade chocolate chip cookies and her meticulously decorated home. At Christmas, her home was a magical place, filled with kerosene lamps and potpourri and the many Santa Clauses she collected.
She loved the Oregon rain, and she said she always felt at home by the ocean. Bonni was a woman of deep Christian faith. The hymn “It is well with my soul” often moved her to tears.
She had a long career with Safeway and Walmart. For years, she was the assistant manager at Walmart in Perry.
Bonni is preceded in death by Butch and by both of her parents.
She is survived by daughter Kimberlee Monroe and her husband, Shannon, of Toledo, Ore.; daughter Kerri Bowling and her husband, Raymond, of Ringwood, Okla.; son Jason Branson and his wife, Shelli, of Crescent, Okla.; and son Jeremy Branson and his wife, Christina, of Cashion, Okla.
She also is survived by granddaughter Jami McCray and her husband, Bo, of Ames, Okla.; granddaughter Noelle Barker and her husband, Michael, of Toledo, Ore.; grandson Justin Bowling and his wife, Monica, of Council Hill, Okla; granddaughter Kaitlyn Lundgren and her husband, Brian, of Toledo, Ore.; granddaughter Hailey Branson-Potts and her husband, Mark Potts, of Torrance, Calif.; grandson Nicholas Schovanec and his wife, Brigitte, of Salem, Ore.; grandson Corey Branson of Crescent, Okla.; and grandsons Symon, Jake and Tommy Branson of Cashion, Okla.
She leaves behind 12 great-grandchildren: Jaycee, Baylee, Sophee and Codee McCray; Benjamin, Addie and Samuel Barker; Reagan and Grace Bowling, Cooper Lundgren, Charlie Potts, and Lily Schovanec.
A memorial service will be held in Cashion, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 1. Interment will follow at a later date at the Oakland-Knowles Cemetery in Crescent, Okla. A memorial service in Oregon will take place in the coming weeks.
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