Bonnie Martin Inman

If there ever was a person who epitomized the essence of faith, hope and love, it was Bonnie. It is as if Bible passage 1-Corinthians 13:13, which was scripted centuries ago, was written with her in mind.

Bonnie passed away peacefully in Ukiah, CA, on May 28, 2020, eleven days before her 99th birthday. Jessie June Arloween Endless Anderson Martin Inman (Bonnie) was born June 8, 1921, in Adrian, ND, to Sigrid and Hyman Endless. She was later abandoned by her parents and adopted by Mike and Hannah Anderson of Adrian.

Bonnie attended school in Adrian. At the age of 11 she learned to play the drums and began playing and singing in the family band. It was the era of swing music and she was a natural at it.

When she was 14, Bonnie lived with her biological mother in Santa Barbara, CA, for two years during which she attended high school in Santa Barbara. She returned to Adrian in the spring of 1937.

Bonnie married Russel (Dewey) Martin on September 18, 1937. The newly-wed couple purchased a 320 acre farm east of Adrian where they had four daughters: Sue (1938), Beverly (1942), Sara Lee (1947) and Mikelyn (1952). In addition to helping operate the farm, Bonnie continued singing and playing in the family band and later sang and played in two other bands: “Rusty’s Rhythm Rascals” and “Smitty and his Accordion.”

The Martin daughters attended grade school in Adrian. When oldest daughter, Sue, reached high school age it was decided Dewey would remain on the farm while Bonnie and the four daughters would move to Dickey to allow the daughters to attend school, participate in basketball, declamations, 4-H, and other school and youth activities.

Bonnie cooked at and managed an existing café in Dickey. She later established a café of her own named Bonnie’s Café. With the help of her four daughters, she ran a successful business and served the community six and ½ days a week from sunup to sundown providing coffee, fresh donuts, homemade pies, bars, cookies, sandwiches and a complete noon meal for $1.00!

Bonnie was an active member of the Assumption Catholic Church in Dickey, the Ladies Aide, the Adrian Homemaker’s Club, and the Dickey Do-ers Homemaker’s Club. She was also a 4-H club leader and bowled on a league team.

After 23 years the marriage dissolved and Bonnie began a new phase of her life when Jim Inman returned from the Navy, went into the radio-TV business in Dickey, and began dining at Bonnie’s Cafe. Bonnie and Jim discovered they had much in common, especially music and dancing. They married in 1962 and had two sons, Barry (1963) and Bruce (1966). The couple left Dickey in 1966, and moved to Enderlin, ND. In 1968, Bonnie, Jim, daughter Mikelyn Martin, and sons Barry and Bruce, moved to Ukiah, California. Jim was a TV and appliance repair technician at Sears and Bonnie served as a waitress at the Broiler Stake House and a receptionist at a beauty salon.

While in Ukiah, Bonnie was a scout den mother, classroom helper, member of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, member of Toastmasters International, the Red Hat Society, played bunco, line-danced and prepared gourmet meals for family and friends.

Bonnie was extraordinary in so many ways:

• She was a phenomenal cook, baker, gardener, and entertainer.

• At 4:00 a.m., every Thursday morning for over 26 years, she made fresh baked cookies to have ready for the garbage and recycle collectors.

• She baked and delivered cookies to her hair stylist, doctors, nurses, tellers at her bank, her yard mowing person, tax preparer, neighbors and many others - especially those in need.

• She was abandoned by her mother as a baby, suffered through a divorce, lost a son and a husband, searched for years and finally found a half-brother who chose not to meet her. Through it all, she never lost or abandoned her Catholic faith.

• When faced with a tragedy or an unbearable situation, she would rise above it by saying, “I won’t dwell on it. I’ll cry tomorrow.” This mantra was based on the 1954 autobiography of Lillian Roth, a singer and actress. Part of Lillian Roth’s life’s story was made into a movie in 1955. The movie, “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” starred Susan Hayward, who also sang the title song.

• In 2018, Bonnie invited nearly 100 of her special friends to a friends’ appreciation event just to tell them how much each of them meant to her and to thank them for everything they had done for her.

• She returned to North Dakota often to visit family and friends, to attend centennials in her home towns of Dickey and Adrian and to attend Dickey School reunions.

• She never missed sending birthday, anniversary, and Christmas cards to everyone in her immediate family, her extended family and to her many friends. If someone was ill, they not only received a get-well card with a personal hand-written message, but received prayers as well.

• She passed her latest driver’s license test when she was 97.

• In March of this year, she purchased a new iPad so she could continue keeping track and communicating with friends and relatives on Facebook.

• She lived in her own home, did her own cooking, took care of her cats and fish right up to the final week of her life. She loved animals and provided shelter and food for any stray cat that otherwise had no place to live. She had two much-loved dogs, Peter Nuisance and Dutches.

• Her mind was as sharp at 98 as it was at 28.

• She was witty, had a great sense of humor, was non-judgmental, lived in the moment, and always had time to listen especially to her grandchildren and great-grand-children.

• She and Jim built a stage beneath a large tree in their backyard where music was played and great-grandchildren were encouraged to sing, dance and tell stories. She worshiped everyone in her family and extended family and they all knew it.

• Bonnie and Jim hosted numerous parties in their backyard including Hawaiian luaus and other fun themes. The events were always well attended by people from a wide range of occupations, cultural backgrounds, and income levels.

• She never missed watching Jeopardy! every evening and was able to provide the questions for many of the answers. (Those who have ever watched Jeopardy! will know what that means).

• Her ideal moments in recent years were spent looking out her large picture window watching the hummingbirds drink from the feeder positioned just outside her window and looking beyond to the fruit trees, rose bushes and all of her “pretties” as she described the flowers that adorned her back yard.

• She kept a yearly diary and wrote in it nearly every day for 78 years – from the age of 20 to the day before she passed away. It is within these diaries that she recorded her personal thoughts and experiences.

• When asked what words of wisdom she would like to pass on to her children and grandchildren, her response was, “If you’re going to do something nice for someone, do it! Don’t wait! Because if you don’t do it when you say you are going to do it, it just might be too late.”

Bonnie was preceded in death by her grandparents, Wolf and Sophie Endless; biological parents, Hyman and Sigrid Endless; adoptive parents, Mike and Hannah Anderson; former husband, Russel Martin (1988); husband, Jim Inman (2013); son, Barry (2011); sister-in-law and dear friend Marlene Inman; and her three half siblings, Dolly and Pete Parks and Larry Endless.

She is survived by her four daughters: Sue Goehring (Norm), LaMoure, ND; Beverly Dunn (Eddie), Fargo, ND; Sara Lee Freier (Terry), Mesa, AZ; Mikelyn Kishpaugh (Jon) Eureka, CA; and son Bruce Inman (Sarah), Sacramento, CA. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.

A graveside Catholic burial service for Bonnie was held at the Russian River Cemetery in Ukiah, CA, on Monday, June 8, at 2:00 p.m., WDT., the date of her 99th birthday. Due to the pandemic, the service was live-streamed with a limited number of family members permitted to attend in person. A celebration of her life will be held later when it is safe to gather.

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