The day the music died. Although we can no longer hear her, Bonita Paulette Sheffer Vulles Dodd, is still singing, but now she is harmonizing with the family and friends who were waiting to greet her when she left for heaven at the age of 70 from Benson Arizona, on Thursday, November 23, 2018. Heaven just got a little bit livelier.
Bonnie was born to Helen Marie Granvold Sheffer and Sidney Albert Sheffer on December 5, 1947 in Carleton Place Ontario Canada where they lived until the family moved to Plentywood Montana in 1952. When she was in the eighth grade, she and her brother Dude moved again to Thompson Falls Montana to live with their older sister and brother-in-law Ruby and Chris Stobie. The Stobies had a couple of small children who were partial to being rocked and sang to and since that was what Bonnie excelled at her arrival was looked upon by all as being a fortuitous event. These youngsters; Robin and Jim grew up thinking that Dude and Bonnie were their older siblings and they greeted the news that Dude and Bonnie were really their aunt and uncle with shock and dismay.
Bonnie attended high school at Thompson Falls while living with her sister, and was an avid Blue Hawk. She and her future sister-in law Lynda Vulles joined the Girls Athletic Association (GAA) and played basketball, and softball, and participated in a lot of dodge ball and badminton tournaments. Bonnie also worked for her brother-in-law Chris Stobie at the local IGA and was able to buy an old blue car which she and her friends drove around to many events. They loved to “drag” main in it all the while singing the many crazy and fun songs that Bonnie taught them. She had a large repertoire of music and she shared it with the people she loved.
Bonnie graduated in 1967 and after a brief stint in Iowa, where she developed a healthy fear of tornados, she married Robert (Bob)Steve Vulles on September 15, 1972 . It sounds trite, but she truly was the love of his life. Together they raised two children, Krista Marie Vulles Olesen, and Russel Steve Vulles. Kristand Russel got the lions share of Bonnie’s love and singing after they were born. Some of the songs they remember the best were the Fox Song, Puff the Magic Dragon, and many Harry Belafonte tunes such as the Day-O song. Bonnie’s niece Terry Stephens became part of the Vulles family when Krista and Russel were young. It seemed fitting that Bonnie have a niece to help her with the children since she had spent many hours helping her own sister when she was younger.
Bobbie’s family was a ranching family and although Bonnie didn’t much care for working in the house, she loved to be outdoors riding horses and helping with the many different chores that came with working cows. Horses, cows and trail rides were a big part of their family life.
Bonnie and Bobbie were also part of the Thompson Fall’s Jaycee and the Sanders County’s search and rescue team. The two of them put in many long hours in the service of their community.
In later life Bonnie suffered a traumatic brain injury that dramatically altered her personality. To her extended family’s dismay, she left her husband Bobby of many years and moved to Arizona where she married Herb Dodd. After Herb passed away, Bonnie joined the First Baptist Church in Benson where she faithfully attended services for usually four out of seven days a week for the rest of her life.
Bonnie had a wealth of people who loved her and she will be remembered by many different people in many different settings. Her church family in Benson Arizona will remember her for her knitting as she sat in her pew, and the rough and tumble exterior that hid a warm and caring heart. Her children, siblings, in-laws, and numerous nieces and nephews will remember her for her infectious sense of humor, her warm heart, the countless songs she sang to them, the times she dropped everything to rock (biyo) her children, a younger sibling, or a niece or nephew who needed comforting, and the sweatshirts that she loved to wear both right side out and inside out when they got dirty. She had amazingly beautiful icy blue eyes, a fun and vibrant personality and an infectious sense of humor that endeared her to her family and friends, but the thing that brings the greatest sense of loss to all is the silence, because Bonnie is no longer here to sing the “Fox Song” to us.
Bonnie is survived by her two children Krista (Gabe) Olesen and Russel (Cindy) Vulles, her granddaughters Alex, Aspen and Avery, brothers Allen Sheffer (Ann) and Leonard “Dude “ Sheffer, sisters Shirley Stephens, Ruby Stobie and Kim (Lanny) Nordhagen , sister-in-law Jaki Peele and numerous nieces and nephews . She was preceded in death by her father Sidney Sheffer, her mother Helen Granvold Sheffer Peele, her husbands Bob Vulles, and Herb Dodd, her brother Bryan Peele, and her brother-in-laws Chris Stobie, and Jack Stephens. Daylight come and she wanna go home.