Bonnie Gilbertson

Bonnie Gilbertson passed peacefully in her home March 21st, 2021.

Bonnie Joy Gilbertson was born June 11th, 1951 at St Elizabeth Hospital in Drayton North Dakota as a preemie to Ralph and Mabel Wilmer. She grew up in Teien Township on their family farm. Bonnie was actively Involved in youth activities at the Teien Covenant Church. She attended Drayton public school in first grade, and the MN kids then were sent to Kennedy High School. Her dad was the bus driver, so she was always the first one on and the last one off and had the honors of sweeping the bus every night. She was active in various groups in high school. She was also active in the Plainview 4-H club, went to state 4-H with Share the Fun, style show, and demonstration.

After graduating High School, she went to Covenant Bible College. The next year she attended Bemidji State University majoring in Elementary Education graduating in May of 1974.

The first time she went to InterVarsity she met the love of her life, Gary. They dated in their Senior year. When he returned from the peace corps in Ethiopia, he asked Bonnie to marry him. They got married on December 21st, 1974 at the Kennedy Covenant Church.

From 1974 to 1978 Bonnie taught 2nd grade and Gary in Special Education at the Lancaster Public School. In 1978 they moved to Bemidji MN where they have been ever since. She had a wonderful career working at First National Bank. She loved her job as a bank teller. She loved her fellow employees and they loved her.

They have 4 wonderful children. Nathan (married to Rebecca, children Caleb, Carson, and Claire); Benjamin (married to Gina, children Zack and Brooke); Daniel (married to Melissa, children Silas, and Dove) and Sarah. Bonnie homeschooled the kids until they went to Bemidji High School. She was a Sunday school teacher when they attended Christian Life Fellowship. She meticulously ran the church library and sang in the choir when they attended Evangelical Covenant Church. Gary and Bonnie found their spiritual home at Mt Zion where she enjoyed singing with Gary.

Bonnie was an avid photographer. She began taking pictures in the 5th grade with a four-bulb flash camera. She created many pictorial collages highlighting the history of her family.

She loved baking all sorts of cookies and sweet treats for numerous potlucks, volleyball games, and fellowship singing.

Bonnie is also survived by her sister Arlene ‘Willy’ (husband Rick) Duff, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded by sisters Marlys and Iona, brother John, and parents Ralph and Mabel.

All those who were blessed to know Bonnie knew that there was the right way, the wrong way, and the Bonnie Gilbertson way!

A celebration of life will be held on 12 June 2021 @ 1100 at Mt. Zion Church, 414 Lincoln Ave SE, Bemidji, MN 56601.  Condolences may be left at

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