Bonita "Bonnie" Louise Lawson (nee Bridges), of Wentzville, MO, passed away Sunday, January 15, 2023, at the age of 83. Beloved wife for 61 years to the late Lionel E. Lawson, Sr.; cherished daughter of the late Herman and Louise Bridges; loving sister to Beverly Hiatt, Barbara Mackey, and the late Brenda DeGonia; devoted mother of Linda (John) Tucker, Lionel E. "Buddy" Lawson Jr., Larry Lawson, Lee Allen Lawson, Lora (Kevin) Cervellere, Lance A. (Karen) Lawson, Lisa (Joe) DeAntona III; loving grandmother of Jennifer Louise, Lionel III, Jessica, Melissa, Amber, Larry Jr., Lauren, Michael, Bonnie Ann, Joseph IV, Hayley Louise, Lance A. Luke II, and Mark James; treasured great-grandmother of AJ, Bennett, Brayden, Joseph V, Miles, Jackson, Jameson, Lily, Charlie, Kennedy, Carter, Joziah, and Ariyah.
Mom was born in the height of the Depression Era (1939) and raised in a humble household while she and her sisters attended and graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School in Cottleville, MO. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, and having never graduated from high school, Mom was raising her six children in St. Charles County while Dad worked construction during the day and she worked at the GE Light Bulb factory, often working – remarkably – the evening or night shift. Blessed with an opportunity to work part-time at J.C. Penney, her managers at “Penney” soon recognized that Mom was a very bright and hard-working woman with wonderful people and business skills and an indomitable will. Only a few years later, Mom was Penney’s leading custom interior decorating sales representative and soon promoted to Midwest Regional Manager with responsibilities over several states, a position in which she excelled until she retired in 1998.
Despite her work success, faith and family were always Mom’s top priorities. Like her and her sisters, each of Mom’s six children went to St. Joseph Catholic Grade School through 8th grade. And no matter the challenge (and sometimes not pretty), Mom and all the children always attended Sunday morning Mass. Mom remained a devout Catholic her entire life, and was a parishioner at both St. Joseph and St. Patrick Catholic Churches. A highlight of her religious life was seeing and touching Pope John Paul II in Rome, when Mom, Aunt Barb, and Mrs. Ann DeAntona visited while Lisa and Joe were stationed in Italy in the mid-80s.
Mom devoted all of her free time to her family. For her children and grandchildren, she was at nearly all of the big events and most of the smaller ones. And she made sure that each of her children and grandchildren knew she was very proud of and loved them dearly. Mom also was a wonderful cook. She enjoyed nothing more than having her children, grandchildren, and relatives over for every major holiday as well as her legendary Sunday BBQs most Spring and Summer weekends (pork steaks simmered in Maull's bbq sauce with Mom's special touch :) On Fall and Winter Sundays, Mom often made for the family her signature pot roast (with potatoes, carrots, and gravy), which was delicious. And during our annual family vacations at the Lake, Mom worked tirelessly to make the vacation fun and memorable: big breakfasts in the morning, loading up the coolers for all-day boating and skiing, and then making dinner on the grill on the outdoor deck while we watched the sunset on the Lake.
Always family, all the time. Those were great days indeed.
Mom had a beautiful, kind, and motherly soul that folks sensed soon after meeting her. In addition to her own children, Mom “adopted” a number of cadets during her many visits to West Point, which she loved. The cadets returned that affection and soon began referring to Mom (appropriately) as “AOE” (Angel On Earth).
Mom enjoyed a number of hobbies. For many years she bowled with her lady friends on Thursday mornings at St. Charles Lanes. She was a valued member of the Bear Creek Garden Club where her green thumb and eye for beautiful landscaping earned her several awards and recognition from her club members. And Mom enjoyed playing cards and dominoes with friends and especially with her family and sisters.
One of Mom's few indulgences was the several trips to Las Vegas with her sisters - the "4 B's". Sometimes Mom came back with a little bit of winnings after playing the slot machines for many hours. But the point of the trips to Vegas was not the slot machines or winning; rather, it was a good excuse to spend precious time with her sisters.
In her later years, Mom was unable to drive and had many appointments for various ailments, some serious. Her quiet grace, dignity, and faith – in her most vulnerable human moments – were often noted by her doctors as they voluntarily shared with us their admiration for Mom. And the doctors often were surprised when at significant medical consultations, four or five and sometimes all six of us children would be in the room with Mom at her appointments. It was simply support Mom had earned through her lifetime of giving of herself to her family and relatives.
Despite her failing health, Mom’s indomitable will continued to shine bright: Mom and Dad worked a lifetime to be in position to buy the home of their dreams, and Mom was determined to live nearly all of her last days on earth in the comfort of that home – and of course she did :)
It is an understatement to say that Mom’s was a life well-lived – she was a remarkable woman. Mom gave few lectures, but each and every day she taught us valuable lessons thru her personal example. She brought love and joy and happiness to nearly everyone she touched. She showed us the value of hard work, education, religion, and family. She showed us how to strive to be our better selves. She showed us that we should respect and venerate military service. She showed us how little things can make a house more beautiful and feel more like a home. She showed us what it means to be a devoted spouse and a strong, caring parent. And she showed us how to live with grace and dignity through all of life’s many challenges.
“[She] fought the good fight, [She] finished the race, [She] kept the faith. Now, there is in store for [Her] a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give [Her] at that day" 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Mom will be dearly missed, but we have some comfort knowing she is with Dad, and smiling down upon and praying for us.
by Linda, Lionel Jr. (Buddy), Larry, Lora, Lance, and Lisa
Memorials may be made in Bonnie’s name to St. Patrick Catholic Church or the West Point Association of Graduates.
Baue Funeral Homes is currently following CDC recommendations regarding mask and social distancing policies.