Bonnie Ann McDonald Schurman
Jan. 31, 1959 – Jan. 24, 2020
Her smile would light up a room. Her distinctive laugh-chuckle was infectious. She was creative, Scots-stubborn and generous especially with family and friends. And when it came to a bargain, she had a nose like a blood-hound.
Bonnie was the youngest child of Walter and Ruth (Davis), a sister for Steve and Nancy. As the youngest, she was easy-going and often the peacemaker in the family. To her twin daughters, Sydney and Nelleke, she was a devoted and caring mother.
Bonnie attended Morrison Public School (now K.P. Manson) and Gravenhurst High School. After graduation she moved to Toronto and worked for Paul Simmons Management Group where she helped organize events for many of Canada’s top music groups and celebrities.
Those skills were also put to work within her family. When it came to Weddings, Birthdays, Family Reunions, Showers and Theme Parties, Bonnie was the ultimate event planner. From table and room decor, to creative arrangements to family feasts fit for royalty, they were all memorable events thanks to Bonnie.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, she thrived on trying new recipes or a new approach to cooking; such as finding a way to cook her Christmas turkey in two and a half hours. Almost everything was made from scratch. “She made a really good wonton soup,” said Sydney. “And a chicken, rice and mushroom dish. I tried to make it the same but I never could nail it like hers.”
Her themed birthday parties were the talk of the town. She knew instinctively that food was the way to unite family and friends. No one ever left hungry. “She’d write out lists for breakfast lunch and dinner. She’d get all organized.” said Nelly. “And we’d be heading up north with three full tubs of food,” added Sydney.
As a parent, she had a soft touch. “She would always say ‘You’ll get grounded,’ but we never did,” said Nelly. Sydney recalls one time when she was punished and Bonnie marched her to the sink to wash her mouth out with soap. ‘I was probably just being a little brat,” she said. “But I can still taste that soap.”
Friends and family recall her phone calls and visits, always checking up on those who were ill or housebound. As a young girl, Bonnie spent many hours looking after her Grandmother McDonald at the old farmhouse, chatting over tea and doing her hair. In later years, she would call in to cheer up her Aunt Marion in her final days. The two had a special bond as Marion had looked after Bonnie as an infant.
“I often teased her that she was the reason I came along years later because my Mom missed having Baby Bonnie around,” said Carolyn Mackie, Marion’s daughter and Bonnie’s cousin.
But beneath that cheerful exterior was a streak of independence and stubbornness, perhaps a link to her Scottish heritage. One time, her girls recall, she ran out of gas a few kilometres from home. Rather than seek help from a nearby fisherman, she was determined to walk to the nearest station on her own.
Most of all, Bonnie loved a bargain. If there was a garage sale, a warehouse, a thrift store, an estate sale, Bonnie was there. “Bonnie was always dragging home treasures,” said brother Steve. “Future projects, she called them.”
“At a sale, she would check every box,” said Nelly. “She loved to fix things up, whether it was an old table found at the end of a driveway, or a box of decorations, she would haul it home. She didn’t like to throw anything out.”
‘We’d be at these sales for hours and we’d give up and go sit in the car and wait for her,” added Sydney.
She took pride in her collections, rare pieces of Milk Glass, nutcrackers and antiques. Her collection of 40 teacups was put to good use at family gatherings and anniversaries.
But it was at her cabin at Moose Lake where Bonnie took time to rest and relax. “Her favourite place,” said Steve, where she would sit and look out on the lake, enjoy the sun and scenery, her family close by. It was her peaceful place.
Bonnie’s health problems in recent years took their toll. She passed away January 24, 2020 in Lakeridge Health Centre, surrounded by her family. She leaves behind her daughters, Sydney and Nellike, her mother Ruth, her brother Steve, her sister Nancy Kikot, nephews Derek (Jessica) and Ryan (Jamie) nieces Nicole (Tayne), Tara, Natasha (garret) and great aunt of Audrey, Noelle. Connor, Owen, Aithan and Caleb.
Bonnie left us far too soon, but we take comfort in knowing that her laughter, her spirit and love of life live on in her family and friends.
Memorial contributions to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Kidney Foundation can be made through Cavill Funeral Home in Gravenhurst. Personal condolences and memories may be shared at www.cavillfuneralhome.com
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