LaVonne Merchlewitz, of Winona, known to her friends as Bonnie, age 83, passed away on December 3, 2013, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis.
Bonnie was born on November 14, 1930, in Winona, to Emil and Margaret (Dulek) Paape. She was united in marriage with Frank J. Merchlewitz on May 17, 1952, at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Winona.
She was a graduate of Cathedral High School and was employed as a secretary for Watkins and Swift Company, and she also worked as a sales representative for KWNO radio.
Bonnie enjoyed playing both golf and bridge. She was especially proud of reaching Life Master Status in the American Contract Bridge League. Her other cherished activities included crossword puzzles, playing keno, watching classic movies and TV shows, knitting afghans for her grandkids when they went off to college, and faithfully spectating many Winona Winhawk and Cotter Rambler events. Bonnie was a creative and talented writer. She was also a member of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.
Bonnie is lovingly survived by her husband, Frank, Winona; children: Claire (Gary) Bambenek, Prior Lake, MN; Matthew (Karen) Merchlewitz, Winona; Mark (Ann) Merchlewitz, Winona; Luke (Brenda) Merchlewitz, Winona; John (Mary) Merchlewitz, Winona; and a large extended family that includes 13 grandchildren and many beloved others.
Bonnie’s brothers and sisters are Andrea (Don) Fitzgerald, Twin Cities, Minn.; Bud Paape, Shoreview, Minn.; Marte (Perry) Knopick, Fountain City, Wis.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered on Friday, December 6, 2013, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka. The Reverend Monsignor Thomas J. Hargesheimer officiated.
Bonnie will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery in a private family ceremony at a later date.
The family respectfully requests that memorials be directed to the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, or the Winona Volunteer Services 10 Days of Giving Food Drive.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Bonnie’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com
Finally, Bonnie wanted to leave the following as a reflection:
“I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board, or in the outline of my hand, or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide.”
Entrusted to our care – Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home