Bonnie Jean McNamara, the heart of her family, passed away on Monday, August 16, 2021 at age 80. Bonnie was born, the daughter of Charles and Ethel Petillon, on July 14, 1941, in Mercer Pennsylvania. From a young age, she was a fighter and an advocate for the down and out. She was a bright light in a room, who caught the attention of a young Marine, Jack McNamara. On November 17, 1963, they married in San Diego, California, and started a family. She was a supportive wife and mother, and an excellent role model. Bonnie was bright, intelligent, and completely self-taught. She was an excellent typist and editor, and supported her husband throughout his education, even editing his PhD dissertation. Bonnie worked at several small newspapers as well. These skills were further useful to her when she and her husband Jack created a small newspaper, establishing the family business of journalism and reporting. Their journalism exposed a huge corruption scandal in a neighboring Texas community, a story which Jack recounts with pride.
In 1984, Bonnie started Texas’s first home hospice service in the rural community of Alpine where she lived. Despite all the odds, she recruited professionals as well as volunteers and eventually was able to gain Medicare accreditation for her new hospice organization. She was always one to care for the sick or differently abled or fight for those without a voice. Including animals, advocating for their rights against inhumane euthanasia practices in Alpine, Texas. Throughout her life, Bonnie was touched by many special furry friends, who each left their own mark on her heart.
In 2011, she and Jack moved to Medford to be with her daughters. She was a devout Episcopalian and attended St. Marks Episcopal Church in Medford where she sang in the Choir. Bonnie was a lover of music and classical music aficionado. Bonnie was a loving and encouraging mother. She was also a talented cook, a gift she passed to her daughter, Mary Kimberly, who graduated the Culinary Institute of America in New York, at the encouragement of Bonnie. Bonnie and Daughter Kathleen shared a special bond and many activities and interests. Kathleen’s love of botany began with planting spring gardens with Bonnie.
She leaves a great hole in the hearts of her family who survives her, including her husband, Jack; daughters, Mary Kimberly (David) Wissenback-McNamara, and Kathleen McNamara. Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents.
Bonnie will be laid to rest at Siskiyou Memorial Park. A private celebration of Bonnie’s life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages memorial contributions to be made to Providence Hospice at https://give.providencefoundations.org/home.