Bonnie (Chudik) Szawiola went to be with her Lord on Sunday, January 29, 2012. Though fiercely fighting lupus and other health issues for many years, she never lost her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ, nor her deep love for her family and friends.
Born in Englewood, NJ, on February 16, 1947, Bonnie was the oldest of John and Gladys Chudik’s four children. She spent much of her life in New Jersey, where she met her husband Brian, to whom she was married 33 precious and wonderful years. The duo formed a ministry, Open Doors, and hit the streets to reach out in God’s love to troubled youth, drug addicts, the homeless and anyone needing a helping hand and caring friend.
They brought that love and dedication to Sullivan County, moving to Mileses in 1974 with the birth of their only child, daughter Naomi Grace. Through her church, Hankins Assembly of God, Bonnie continued ministering to adults and young people, memorably leading her teenage team of Scripture scholars to numerous “Bible Quiz” competitions. Her enthusiasm, sense of humor and empathy especially endeared her to children and young adults, who found (often to their own surprise) an instant friend and confidante, despite the age difference.
Bonnie, being a child of the ‘60s, was also fond of flowers, tending to a garden at her Mileses home, and enjoyed arts and crafts. She loved animals, always knew the right words to say (and how to spell them!), and was ecstatic to become a grandmother for the first time just last year.
Though her heart ultimately gave out, her love and kindness continue to live on in the hearts of her husband, Brian; their daughter, Naomi and husband Aaron Houghtaling; her granddaughter, Dylan; her sister Robin McElroy and family Sheri Colleen, Justin and Kevin; her brother John Chudik and family Ellen, Danielle, Colleen, and John; her sister Laurie Masten and family John, Annalise, and John III; and the many friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord that Bonnie met throughout her 64 years.
Bonnie is now alive and well with her Lord in heaven, and at the family’s request, no funeral will be held.
But those whom she touched know she would very much want us to gather to celebrate her life and the bonds she forged between and among us. Such a gathering in her memory will be held this Saturday, February 11, at 1 p.m. at Hankins Assembly of God, with Pastor Campbell Lumbila presiding. Per Bonnie’s example, all are welcome.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Retired Los Angeles YWCA Chief Executive, 89
Following a brief illness, Winifred Ruth Hessinger, 89, passed away in Los Angeles on Friday, February 3rd, 2012.
Born in Callicoon Center, Winifred was the daughter of Winfield and Susan Schliermacher Hessinger. She entered Barnard College in New York City at the age of 16. After obtaining her degree, she joined the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve where she was sent to an air station in North Carolina and taught pilots how to fly blind.
During World War II she was stationed in Landshut Germany, developing social programs for enlisted personnel. After the war she moved to New York City and was recruited by the national leadership of the YWCA to help run USO clubs in Virginia and Arizona. This work eventually led her to Los Angeles where she recruited, organized and supervised volunteers for USO clubs, including travel itineraries for Bob Hope’s overseas tours.
She was recruited to become the Chief Executive Officer for the Greater Los Angeles YWCA in 1975 and remained there for sixteen years until her retirement in 1991. Her support of their National and World Service Council’s work in fostering women’s programs throughout the world remained a major priority in her life.
She joined First Congregational Church of Los Angeles in 1990 and served as Board Chair. Memorials in her name may be made to First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 South Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90020 or the YWCA. World Service Council, 2025 M Street, NW, #550, Washington, DC 20036. A memorial service is being planned at the United Reformed Church in Youngsville, NY on May 19th. She is survived by her cousins Arthur and Helen Hessinger, Val Hessinger, and Jim and Iona Johnston as well as numerous second cousins.