Bonnie L. Rothermel, 81, of Shamokin Dam, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at Nottingham Village, Northumberland, after having lived with Multiple Sclerosis for more than 30 years.
She was born Dec. 19, 1940, in Northumberland, the only child of the late James B. and Ruby J. (Kerstetter) Schlegel.
Bonnie was a 1958 graduate of Sunbury Area Senior High School, where she was a majorette, band member and member of several choral groups. In 1959, she attended Bucknell University under a special one year program to study voice. In recognition of her vocal accomplishments and beautiful soprano voice, she was invited to tour with the Bucknell Women's Chorus.
On Oct. 28, 1967, Bonnie married her high school classmate, Rue S. Rothermel, who survives. Together they celebrated 54 years of marriage as best friends and each other's strongest supporters.
Following graduation and throughout her working career, Bonnie held secretarial positions with several companies, including Laglon, The First National Bank of Sunbury Trust Department, and Arthur Reehrer and Co. Later she was secretary and substitute court reporter for Northumberland County Judge Michael Kivko and lastly secretary/bookkeeper for Attorney Richard Henry Klein.
Although not actively involved in many civic/community organizations, Bonnie and her husband, Rue, were co-chairmen of the very successful 1972 Sunbury Bicentennial Celebration. She also strongly supported her husband's commitment to numerous civic and business organizations including the Sunbury Rotary Club.
Bonnie was greatly challenged by the effects of MS on her body throughout her adult life; however, she never allowed the disease to define her life. She would tell people that her body had MS, but MS did not have her.
Raised by Christian parents, Bonnie was a committed Christian woman of deep faith; she relied upon her faith, the power of prayer and the love and support of her husband, family and friends to help her overcome difficulties. She has the God given ability to accept reality without complaining, make adjustments and moved on with her life. She was a role model for many. In all things, she gave credit to God, not herself.
Music was an essential part of her life. With her beautiful soprano voice, she was guest soloist for many weddings and other events as well as a church choir member. The accomplishment she perhaps treasured the most was her role as Director of Music at Christ Community United Methodist Church, Selinsgrove, where she directed the adult and children's choirs as well as numerous cantatas for more than a 10year period. She was not only director, but a teacher of those for whom she was responsible. In addition, she was a talented pianist.
She served her churches in numerous capacities including Lay Witness Mission Team Member, Bible study and prayer group leader, Administrative Board Chairperson and Pastor Parish Relations Committee Chairperson.
Bonnie shared with her husband a lifetime of collecting antiques, and she used her creative decorative abilities incorporating them into her home decor. She also had a gift for creating beautiful floral arrangements as well as the talent to complete crewel and counted cross-stitch pictures. She took great pride in decorating her home and was a gracious hostess.
Bonnie and Rue enjoyed touring the East Coast and later in life purchased a motor home to better accommodate her needs. She especially loved coastal Maine, particularly Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor. With their shared love of dogs they were frequently accompanied by one of them.
Bonnie is survived by her husband, Rue; several close cousins including Kay Marshall of Northumberland, Shirley Rebuck and Nancy Gemberling of Sunbury RD; local godchildren, Jacob, Noah and Chloe Shipman of Northumberland; and her dear friend, Debbie Smith of Winfield, who considered Bonnie to be her second mother; and several other cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved Nana Marion Kerstetter, and several aunts and uncles.
A visitation will be held Friday, March 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church, Second and Arch streets, Sunbury. A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 12, at 11 a.m. at the church, conducted by Pastor Ron Troup preceded by a 10 a.m. visitation.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Faith United Methodist Church.
Bonnie and her husband Rue are thankful to the caregivers and staff at Nottingham Village for the wonderful care, love and support provided to Bonnie over the last 4 years. In addition, they were thankful for the special care given by Hospice of Evangelical Community Hospital.
Arrangements are by the Zweier Funeral Home, 157 Chestnut St., Sunbury.