Celebrating the life and memory of Bonnie Petersen

Memories That Last

Maddi Loiselle, IV Leader Editor

On Oct. 21, 2016, one of IVCC’s own passed away. Bonnie Petersen was a beloved part time instructor in the Natural Science and Business Department. She worked for 13 years and coached the tennis team for seven years.

I had Bonnie in the Spring 2017 semester. I don’t think any of my classmates will forget it and not just because of her illness. The class was Personal and Community Health, so you can assume that this feisty woman wasn’t going to let us off easy. She took every moment possible to make jokes about the material that lent itself to an awkward class.

As Cris Mendez states below, she would ask for us to be mature about it, but then she would laugh along with us. Though most would take this class only to fill the Health and Wellness requirement, Bonnie made us take it seriously. She refused to let us settle in her class, in any class, or in any part of our lives.

I rarely speak up in my classes, which comes as no surprise to anyone that knows me. One day, I had to tell Bonnie I wasn’t going to be at the next class, and she said that she’d start picking on me more to answer questions and take part in discussions.

Though this didn’t last long, I got the feeling that she wasn’t all talk. You always know that your teachers are supposed to be rooting for you, but it’s rare when they actually show it. That wasn’t the only time she demonstrated this, but it was in that moment when I fully understood.

Bonnie was one of those special teachers that will always stick with you. She was the type of teacher and person that proved she’s always on your side.

Memories of Bonnie

“Bonnie was so nice to me. I had surgery during that semester [that I had her] and she offered to go with me to my appointments. She was extremely helpful to me because of her situation. She was hilarious, always joking and someone I wish I could’ve known longer.”

Sophia Antle

“Her Student Evaluations were always positive and she always had a positive and upbeat personality. She had a great attitude throughout her illness and will be greatly remembered.”

Ron Groleau, Dean of Natural Science and Business

“I had known Bonnie since high school (way back) – she worked in the athletic department as our tennis coach from 2004-2011. She was a good person and a loyal friend that would help you at any time you were in need. She always worried about the students and had their best interest at heart. Bonnie gave of her own money to help students that perhaps needed gas or food money-I witnessed these acts of kindness first hand. She will be missed by all who knew her.”

Sue Harding, Administrative Assistant

“I had Bonnie Petersen as an instructor spring of 2016 and I have never had a teacher who had so much character and inspiration to give to her students. She continued to impress me time and time again with how she carried herself even when things were going badly for her.”

Chris Moshage

“Bonnie is not able to be described in one just one word. She was funny, caring, and had such a great personality. Whenever she had chance to crack a joke and make the class laugh she would take the opportunity. She was all about having a stress free and fun environment. She was mainly like this because she was very free spirited and still very young at heart. She knew us so well because during certain parts of chapters when our minds would start heading towards the dumpster, she would give us ‘the Stare’ and we would all just laugh and continue with the lecture. She would tell us about all her adventures growing up; for example, when she went sky diving and traveled all around the U.S. She really was a unique person that cared about all her students.”

Cris Mendez

“Bonnie Petersen had an unwavering spirit. She was a fantastic instructor who devoted so many years to IVCC. Bonnie always showed up for her classes at the Ottawa Center with a smile and a contagious, positive attitude. She set an amazing example for her students and the staff that life must be lived with tenacity and grace. She cared deeply for her students and IVCC through her dedication and commitment to the job. She was always happy to make time for students outside of class and was always trying to help foster a supportive collegiate atmosphere. We were lucky to know her.”

Jeanette Frahm, Ottawa Center Coordinator

“It is impossible not to mourn for the death of a dear colleague, the only thing left is to pray to God to take care and protect her and remember all the lives she touched here at IVCC. We will remember her because she fought until the end; she was a true warrior who always clung to life. She never gave up, despite the illness she suffered. My deepest condolences to Bonnie’s family and friends. Bonnie brought so much life and energy to her classes. She will be missed by the students, faculty and staff at IVCC.”

Tony Ruda, Fitness Center Director