Carnations 5

Bonnie J. (Welch) Morris Friend

June 16, 1953 ~ May 17, 2022 (age 68)


On May 17, Bonnie Jean Morris Friend (Welch) died as she lived, peacefully and happy to be at home, accompanied by her partner of 26 years Jerry Friend Sr. and her two born children. 
A Celebration of the Life of Bonnie Jean Morris Friend will be held on Saturday, May 21 at her house located at 629 5th St in La Salle, from 3-7:00 PM. The Hurst Funeral Home in La Salle is assisting the family with arrangements.
She was born in Peoria on June 16, 1953 to Mildred [Mlakar] (super-mom) & Gerald Welch (union carpenter Foreman/BA). She lived between Peoria & Peru as her father’s work dictated until the family permanently settled in Peru close to her grandparents and extended family in 1965.
She was an avid reader, learner and enthusiast of all things art related and highly skilled in each of those pursuits. She attended Catholic primary schools and then attended L-P High School where she graduated class of '71. She went on to earn her AA degree from IVCC in 1986.
Bonnie married Bruce Joseph Morris in July 1973 and they embarked on adventures ranging from dwelling in a Christian hippie commune in St Augustine, FL to subsisting as a seamstress & leather crafts-person in Appleton, WI where in 1976 they welcomed their first born, Destin. They soon moved back to the Illinois Valley and in June of 1978, they welcomed their second born, Oriel Star, while living and working at St Bede.
Yearning for more adventure, they packed up the family in the summer of 1984 and moved back to Florida. This time settling down on Anna Maria Island where they started their business, “Island Cleaning and Maintenance Service.” 
Bonnie and Bruce divorced in 1997. 
Bonnie started an antiques business and later met her life & new adventure partner, Jerry Friend Sr. in 1998. Bonnie and Jerry moved back to Illinois together to care for her mom, Millie, in 2000 and bought their beloved forever home in La Salle in 2006. Bonnie and Jerry's adventures included hunting the local area for antique and vintage treasures, then hosting massive yard sales to make space for more while always prioritizing having fun and laughing together. She spent the past 16 years very happily fussing around her house with remodeling, decorating and gardening.
Bonnie worked for over 21 years at The Mendota Reporter where she took great pride in her craft. She started as a social editor later becoming the editor-in-chief and earned statewide awards for her stories. She loved sharing the stories and events of Mendota and beyond through writing and photography and relished the sense of providing benefit to her community with her thoughtful talents and skills. 

Bonnie is survived by her life partner, Jerry Friend Sr., her two born children, Destin and Oriel Morris and two heart children, Jerry "Chip" Friend Jr. and Frank Friend, her grandchildren Kaya Haddix Morris, Madison Friend and Nina Friend, her father Gerald Welch and her two nieces Jacey Etscheid and Terri Welch. 



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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Bonnie

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