With heavy hearts, the sons of Bonnie Jean Waits announce her passing. Bonnie died on January 2, 2024 at Pella Comfort House in Pella, Iowa.
Born at home in rural Monroe County, Iowa on May 10, 1938, Bonnie Mart was the youngest child of Arthur Farrold Mart and Edythe Francis (Plough) Mart. At the tender age of 16 months, Bonnie’s mother died. She and her four siblings went to live with their maternal grandparents, Clell and Zu Plough, on their farm near Eddyville. The following years would be remembered as some of the best of Bonnie’s life ― a childhood filled with love and marked by hard work, her grandmother’s wonderful cooking, and countless adventures on the farm.
Bonnie attended Forest Hill, a one-room school not far from the family farm. She graduated from Eddyville High School in 1956 and later moved to Des Moines. Through an introduction by her dear friend Ruth Larenz, Bonnie met ― and later married ― Glenn Franklin Waits. The couple moved to Knoxville, Iowa in 1964 and had two sons, Kevin and Kentin.
Over her 29-year career with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Knoxville, Bonnie worked as a nursing assistant and later, LPN. She won numerous performance awards, and with three colleagues, helped launch the V.A.’s Alzheimer Daycare Unit in 1982 (one of the first Alzheimer-focused care facilities in the nation).
Bonnie was active and had many hobbies. She loved to work in the yard, bird-watch, collect antiques, sing, and write poetry. She could (with astounding patience) repair just about anything; many friends came to her for help with a leaky faucet or drafty window. A farm girl at heart, Bonnie enjoyed a good Western movie or book and was particularly fond of the works of Louis L’Amour and William W. Johnstone.
Family and friendship were central to Bonnie’s life. Her gentle spirit and keen sense of humor drew people close. Over the years, she developed a tight-knit circle of friends and loved getting together with them and chatting over coffee.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her husband; grandparents; parents; an infant sister named Alice Mart; siblings: Thayne Mart, Rollin Mart, and Betty (Mart) Fosenburg; sisters-in-law: Margorie Hootman, Geraldine Mart, Irene Mart, Vina Mart, and Beverly Mart; brothers-in-law, Henry Fosenburg and Ernie Moses; her dear niece, Allyson Karl; and one much-loved little Schnauzer named Scout.
Those left to cherish Bonnie’s memory include her sons, Kevin Waits and Kentin Waits and two grandchildren, Eli Waits and Mesa Waits, all of Des Moines. Bonnie is also survived by two sisters, Joyce Moses and June Spencer, both of Oskaloosa; brother, Roscoe Mart of rural Eddyville; nieces: Debbie Mowry, Diane Bracken, Denise Mohsenin, Samantha Osterloh, and Nancy Keely; nephews: Roy Mart, Douglas Mart, Daniel Mart, Joseph Moses, and Scott Moses; and many longtime friends.
For the two sons who knew Bonnie best, it’s difficult to express how lucky we feel to have shared our lives with her. She was our biggest champion, our funniest friend ― an unwavering bright light that centered our world. We will miss our mom’s song, her kindness, and her laughter for the rest of our days.
A celebration of Bonnie’s life will be held at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Knoxville, Iowa on January 8, 2024. Visitation will start at 1:00 pm and the funeral will begin at 2:00 pm. Following the funeral, relatives are invited to gather for a brief graveside service at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Bonnie's memory to the Marion County Humane Society.