We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Westlock Funeral Home & Crematorium Ltd.
It is with overwhelming sadness that we announce the passing of Bonnie Mary Theresa Whissell (nee: Burns) Bonnie passed away suddenly on June 10, 2022 in Edmonton, Alberta at the age of 78.
Born in Vancouver on June 28, 1944, Bonnie was raised on a farm near Pickardville, Alberta by her parents Lillian and Miles Burns. She attended school at the St Benoit Catholic Convent in Pickardville. Bonnie helped out on the family farm where she fostered a strong work ethic and sense of adventure. In high school, Bonnie met her soulmate Ronald Whissell and they married on October 13th, 1962. The next year, their first child Lance was born followed by Sean, Andrea and Evan. One of Bonnie and Ron’s first homes was a log cabin in the Town of Westlock, Alberta. Bonnie was very close to her mother Lillian who played a key role in Bonnie’s life as a young mother. Bonnie’s first job was working with Dr Georges Whissell at the Whissell Clinic in 1965. Bonnie was very active and also liked to be challenged outside of her role as an incredible young mother. In 1972, she got her beautician’s license and opened a very successful salon on main street in Westlock. When she wasn’t busy at home or at work, Bonnie lived at the ice rink as a hockey and figure skating mom devoting much of her time to her children’s pursuits of sport. In 1977, Bonnie and Ron moved to Edmonton with their four children. Bonnie was an adventurous soul that incited her over the years to work as a cattle rancher, political campaign manager, as a property manager, as a real estate agent and as a restaurant manager. She also owned and operated her own drycleaners in Leduc, Alberta and Alberts Restaurant in Edmonton. Bonnie played an important role in her son Lance’s teak furniture and art businesses which brought her to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong and the US. In 1998, Bonnie and Ron moved to the US due to Ron’s construction business and over the next several years lived in Ohio, Washington, California, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Gulf Shores in Alabama. During this time, Bonnie was involved in a restaurant in Irvine, California. Later on, she even had the responsibility of a money counter on a river boat casino on the Ohio River. Bonnie later spent time with her son Lance during fall and summer of 2002/03 travelling to various trade shows selling teak furniture, traditional paintings and decorations throughout California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Bonnie also explored her passion for jewelry and opened BMW Jewelry and designed high end jewelry selling it at shows and local fashion events. Their final residence in the US was in the warm weather of Scottsdale, Arizona. Recently, Bonnie and Ron returned to Canada and spent their time between New Westminster, BC and Edmonton, AB.
Bonnie was a people person. She was able to relate to people of different backgrounds and bring the best out of people. She had a particular love for children and young people…..often being referred to as the travelling, surrogate grandmother. In particular, she spent time travelling between the US, Greece and Asia visiting with her 6 grandchildren that she adored. Bonnie was an eternal optimist and always faced any challenge with a smile and an incredible sense of humor. Her grandchildren loved her sense of adventure and mischievousness referring to her as ‘sassy grandma’.
During the last years of her life, Bonnie faced some serious health problems with bravery, a smile and a strong will to live. The early loss of her beloved son Lance in 2021 was a devastating blow for Bonnie but she handled it once again with bravery and dignity. She was tough as nails and never complained no matter the challenge. Her generosity and kindness touched all those who were lucky enough to spend time with her.
Bonnie is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 60 years Ronald Whissell of Westlock, Alberta; her children, Sean (Joan) Whissell of Vancouver, Canada, Andrea (Periklis)Tsahageas of Athens, Greece and Evan (Kim) Whissell of Phoenix, Arizona; her grandchildren, Madeline and George Whissell (of Lance), Giannis, Alexandros and Anuk Tsahageas (of Andrea), Chelsie (Eric) (of Evan); her brother, Dave (Judy) Burns of Westlock, Alberta; and her numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. She will be dearly missed and her memory will live forever in our hearts.
A celebration of Bonnie’s life will be held during the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, June 25, at 1 pm at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 10020 100 ave. Westlock, Alberta, T7P 1T5. Interment to follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Bonnie’s memory to the Canadian Cancer Society, https://cancer.ca/en/ A Reception will follow in Westlock