Bonnie Jean Hopewell Faust, 95, of Missoula, passed away of natural causes on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at Riverside Health Care Center.
She was born Sept. 12, 1921, in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only child of Ernest and Vonda Hopewell. Her family moved to St. Bernice, Indiana when Bonnie was a baby and returned to Terre Haute after she finished fourth grade. She attended Terre Haute public schools and graduated from Wiley High School in 1939.
Bonnie attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority; serving as sorority president her senior year. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1943. She married Wiley High School classmate, Richard “Dick” Faust, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1943, while Dick was enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in San Antonio, Texas. They made their home in San Antonio until Dick was honorably discharged in 1946. Bonnie and Dick then moved to Lafayette, Indiana where Dick attended Purdue University. Bonnie taught school for 11 years while Dick earned his bachelors, masters and PhD. in bacteriology. Dick then accepted a position in the microbiology department at the University of Montana and in January of 1958, they moved the family to Missoula. It was a year of new beginnings for the Fausts. Dick had a new job, they had a brand new car, they had just adopted a 3-year-old boy and Bonnie was 8 months pregnant!
Shortly after arriving in Missoula, Bonnie and Dick purchased a piece of land in the Rattlesnake and built their one and only home on Siesta Drive where they raised their two sons, Keith and John. Bonnie loved the Rattlesnake and cherished her years as a stay at home mom. She returned to teaching when her youngest son entered high school. She taught first grade at Lincoln School, Cold Springs and Mount Jumbo until her retirement in 1986.
Bonnie understood the importance of community involvement and was known to many, not only her years as a teacher, but also through her membership and participation in various organizations. In 1964 Bonnie assisted in establishing the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at the University of Montana and served as the sorority’s first supervisor. She was a longtime member of the League of Women Voters (president in 1968), PEO, and Friendship Force of Western Montana. Bonnie was an active member of First United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School, was a member of UMW, served as a Stephens Minister and was founder of the Amazing Grays. She enjoyed attending the Missoula Symphony and MCT performances and she loved to play bridge. She formed lifelong friendships with her bridge partners, Aggie Madison, Lee Ballard, Barb Sharkey, Betty Taylor, Marge Gold, Cynthia Bryan, Doris Boehmler, Dolores Kludt, and Joyce Evans, to name a few.
She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. Her two granddaughters, Amanda and Rebecca, were the light of her life. They got off the bus at Bonnie’s house each day after school and she always had cookies and milk waiting for them. Of course, they weren’t permitted to eat their cookies until they told their Grandma about their day.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Dick Faust. Survivors include Bonnie’s two sons, Keith Faust and his wife Virginia of Helena, John Faust and his wife Shirley of Missoula; two granddaughters, Amanda Marek and her husband James of Missoula and Rebecca Faust of Tucson, Arizona. She is also survived by her special white furry friend, Paddy.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 10, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be sent to the Renovation Fund at the First United Methodist Church, PO Box 7646, Missoula, MT 59807.