Bonita D. Kennedy, RN, 73, longtime Ellensburg resident, passed away at the Kittitas Valley Hospital on Friday, November 5, 2021. Viewing for family and friends will be from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 12, 2021 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at the United Methodist Church in Ellensburg.
Bonita was born on August 22, 1948 in Eugene, Oregon, the youngest of three children born to Russell & Emma (Parr) Denyer. She grew up in Medford Oregon, and attended the local schools, playing French Horn in both the school band and orchestra. Following her graduation from high school in 1966, she attended Willamette College; following her Freshman year, she transferred to The University of Oregon, in Eugene, OR, where she earned her Bachelor Of Arts in Child Development. She worked side-by-side with the state of Oregon and the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes setting up child development daycares for the Tribes and non-tribal low-income families.
Bonita met Montee Kennedy in the fourth grade and they grew up together, eventually marrying. They were blessed with two sons - Ryan and Geoffrey. Montee, originally an attorney, would later be called to serve as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, with his first church assignment being in Quincy, Washington. It was during this time that Bonita attended Wenatchee Valley College and became a Registered Nurse, a designation she was incredibly proud of, working as the night supervisor at Quincy Valley Healthcare.
Bonita’s life changed dramatically when she read an article in a progressive Christian magazine penned - under a pseudonym - by the woman who would eventually become her wife, best friend and life partner - Rebecca Bowers. Bonita was so moved by the article that she wrote to Rebecca and the two corresponded over the course of a couple years. Eventually, they met in person and after some time, Bonita gained the courage to come out of the closet and live as her true self. Although it was an incredibly difficult situation, Montee told Bonita “It’s time to be yourself” and in 1994, she loaded her car and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, starting a new life with Rebecca. Throughout the years, Montee remained a very close friend to Bonita and Rebecca. Following Washington’s passage of marriage equality in 2012, Bonita and Rebecca became legally married on February 2, 2013.
In Virginia, Bonita worked as an infusion therapy and wound care nurse with the local home health organization - a job she absolutely loved. In the summer of 2000, Bonita and Rebecca moved to Ellensburg where Rebecca had accepted a position as Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at Central Washington University. Bonita went to work as the nurse for Dr. Nancy Wells and helped manage her office until Dr. Wells retired in 2018.
Following retirement, Bonita was very active with the Ellensburg Women’s Chorus and loved to attend plays, concerts, and events at CWU and in Ellensburg. She was also an avid reader of Louise Penny’s mystery novels, enjoyed cooking and going to movies. In addition to traveling the country in their RV, she and Rebecca would also take an annual trip to New York City to take in Broadway shows.
Bonita is survived by her wife Rebecca Kennedy at their home in Ellensburg; as well as her sons Geoffrey (Kristin) Kennedy of South San Francisco, CA, Ryan (Candice) Kennedy of Bellingham, WA; her grandkids Lucy Kennedy, Malcolm Kennedy, and Duncan Kennedy of Bellingham, WA; her dogs Gena the Sheltie, Oliver the Papillon/Pomeranian, Mindy the Pocket Beagle, Vanessa the Standard Beagle, Mackenzie the West Highland White Terrier, Jolee the Mini-Poodle, Joyful the Schnoodle, and Willow the West Highland White Terrier.
Memorial contributions in Bonita’s honor are suggested to the FISH Community Food Bank, 804 Elmview Road, Ellensburg, WA 98926. Rebecca and Bonita send our deepest gratitude to FISH Food Bank for providing nutrition, when we could not sustain ourselves.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Bonita and her family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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