This was compilation was a labor of love with contributions by many who learned, respected and whose lives were impacted by Bonne. There was no rhyme or reason about the order of the memories in the post., The memories are listed as they were received or discovered on social media and being sent to the D25 Webteam.
“A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops.” ~ Henry Adams
The quote above was included in Bonne’s obituary and describes her incredible life perfectly. There are many memories included. I am sure there are a multitude of memories that could have been included. We included what we were sent and could find.
From Jeff Stroman (Bonne’s Son) (Original Post on Bonne’s Facebook Timeline):
Friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must let you know that my mother, Bonne Stroman, passed away last night (02/07/23). As many of you may know she was diagnosed with a carcinoma of the bile duct in December. She had been in and out of the hospital a couple of times over the holidays and into January for procedures related to that. She had grown quite weak and was released to an in-patient rehab. Yesterday evening after I visited, she was found unresponsive after a patient care tech had stepped away from her room for a moment. Her heart stopped and efforts to restart it were unsuccessful.
We have been blessed to receive calls and messages from so many of her friends and our relatives over the last day. It gives me great peace to hear how much she was loved and to hear people say she was a light in their lives. Mom and I had some frank discussions after her diagnosis. She was happy with the life she had lived. She was neither angry nor overly sad about her prognosis. She said she was glad she had been able to take interesting trips, live in unique places, and participate in so many fun activities.
Although it is sudden and was unexpected, we take solace in the fact that she did not have to suffer a long painful course of chemotherapy treatments or suffer the indignities that can come with living with serious medical issues affecting your gizzard (her word).
Mom would advise everyone to carpe that old diem and enjoy your life to the fullest. If you find yourself estranged from an old friend or a loved one when you read this, please reach out to them now. Do not wait. Your time in this world is not unlimited. Get what enjoyment you can and do it without delay. As a friend of my grandparents used to say, “we owes it to ourselves.”
Services in the DFW area will be held Friday, February 17 at 2:00pm at Lucas Funeral Home in Hurst, TX. Her remains will be buried later in the family cemetery in Alice, TX.
Contributions below are arranged in no particular order.
From Marylee Mims, DTM Past District Governor 2014-2015
Bonne had a way of bringing out the best in people. She treated each of us in a way that made us want to be on “her team”. She could approach things “head on” (teacher fashion) or persuade with power. She could ask, be patient, and then ask again with anticipation that you’d say “yes” to her requests.
Bonne modeled a strong example of positive, caring, and effective leadership. She operated with dedication, kindness, and grace. I was blessed to serve in her Trio. She said we were “joined at the hip during those years”. As we planned, worked, laughed, cried, and celebrated, we built a true and lasting friendship. Calling Bonne creative, is an understatement. She was the queen of skits and clever incentive announcements.
One year when Bonne couldn’t attend the International Convention, we brought her photo with us. She laughed with delight when she saw all the photos she was a part of!! Bonne was a gift to us all … Happy memories of times together will remain with me always.
From David McCallister, DTM Past District Governor 2009-2010, Past International Director 2011-2013, 2016-2017
Bonne was motivated to always make things better than she found them. Whether editing a newsletter, providing constructive feedback, or simply giving her opinion, it was always with a smile.
Describe her in a single phrase: “brash and sassy.” In a single word: “authentic.” What you saw is what you got. Everyone knew where they stood with her as she didn’t mince words.
We spent time together in Toastmasters and American Mensa. In those times when spirited debate ensued between us, she always found a way to demonstrate patience and empathy I simply couldn’t comprehend.
Her impact on those she spent time with will be seen and felt for generations. I’m grateful for the privilege of knowing her and embracing the wisdom she imparted upon me. I’m a better person for knowing her and so is the rest of the world.
I find myself wishing that Bonne could help me put my thoughts and feelings into words. Over the years she did just that. She was my go-to person for coming up with just the right words. One funny story was when Bonne brought it to my attention that the phrase ‘each and every time’ wasn’t appropriate. Oops!!
Bonne was a teacher, leader, encourager, hostess, planner, doer, rock star, optimist, believer in people, and did it all with class and commitment to excellence. No matter if it was a party at her home, a conference she chaired, or a District she led she knew how to build a team and make it happen. One of the quotes Bonne used a lot and lived by was from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
She lived the district focus during her District Governor year: “Explore the Possibilities.” She encouraged everyone to explore their possibilities during 2012-2013 when she served as District Governor. I feel blessed to have served with Bonne and even more blessed to have her on my list of ‘best friends’. She was truly an amazing woman that let her light shine. Bonne, YOU are the best!!
During my time in Toastmasters, I have often been guided by mentors who saw the way to go more clearly than I did. One of those mentors was Bonne Stroman, who encouraged me in many leadership opportunities, one of which led to something completely unforeseen by either of us.
In the fall of 2013, our retired district parliamentarian Jim Monahan contacted Bonne and offered to have parliamentary training sessions for those who might serve the district to ensure they were comfortable and competent in presiding at meetings. She rounded up some students and after the class ended, four of us – Michael Kinser, Cindy Hinckley, Bonne, and I – passed the examination for the National Association of Parliamentarians with flying colors. Cindy and I found our knowledge to be quite beneficial during our terms as district directors which ended in 2016 and 2017. Bonne and Michael have served well as district parliamentarians.
Bonne was proud of us when Cindy and I earned our credentials in 2018 as Professional Registered Parliamentarians. Then, in January 2022, Cindy’s parliamentary/Toastmasters connections led her to a conversation with CEO Daniel Rex to see if she was interested in being the parliamentarian for the TI Annual Business Meeting in August. Unfortunately, due to an eyesight problem, she had to decline, but then she promptly recommended me for the position. Later, when I told Bonne that I had accepted it, she was surprised, excited, pleased, and proud. It is certain that neither of us saw where that training class would lead, nine years later!
From Cindy Hinckley, DTM, PRP District Director 2015-2016
From Ninfa Flewitt, DTM Past District Director 2021-2022
In life, there are few people who really champions us, who make us believe that we are capable of greatness. My friend, Bonne Stroman, was one of the people in life who made me believe that nothing was out of reach for me.
My first knowledge of Bonne was when she taught my children English at Mineral Wells High School. My oldest called her, “The Stromanator” because she did not take flak from any of the kids in Senior English and Bonne had the sense of humor to laugh when they called her this rough and tough moniker. I know she enjoyed it because she let us know years later during a Table Topics answer.
In 2016 when I heard, “The Stromantor” needed help starting a Toastmasters Club, I said, “Sure, I know people.” Then I asked, “What is Toastmasters?”
It was Bonne who suggested that I become President of this newly charted club Something to Talk About in Mineral Wells, and then she who recommended I take on the role of Area Director. That year, Bonne suggested several of us newly minted Toastmasters from Mineral Wells serve in District Leadership roles, and we did! That club has had at least 1 person in District Leadership since its inception … thanks to Bonne nudging us in one direction or another.
Bonne thought nothing was out of reach for me (or any of us) in Toastmasters. She believed in me when I wasn’t sure of myself and not sure of what I had gotten myself into! Bonne served as my mentor in every aspect of Toastmasters life. She was proud of her clubs, fellow members, and of her service to District 25; a service she continued until the very end.
I cannot say enough about how much has Bonne influenced my journey and set the example for what a true Toastmaster looks like. She was the embodiment of Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Respect in all aspects.
I am heartbroken; Bonne will be greatly missed by many, but her impact on District 25 will leave a lasting legacy.
From Emily Murray, DTM Program Quality Director 2022-2023
Bonne leaves a hole in my heart, my club and the District. Bonne will be fondly remembered by myself and a great many others. Her positivity, enthusiasm, and knowledge will all be greatly missed. She was a radiant beacon- she drew people towards her and then supported and encouraged them on their own journeys. Bonne encouraged so many people to take their first steps, take the scary step, do something big, do something new. She helped develop so much leadership talent in the district, her impact is immeasurable and unfathomable. The legacy of her influence is going to be felt for many, many years.
From Robi Ley, DTM Past District Director 2018-2019
I’m not sure there’s much I can add but being me, I have to try. Bonne Stroman was a huge influence early on in my Toastmasters experience. She was the one who asked me to serve as Area Governor (now Area Director). To have a world where her humor, kindness, and knowledge are missing is very nearly inconceivable. I probably never told her how grateful I was for her and now that opportunity is gone. Bonne you will be missed.
From Kim Story, DTM
I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Bonne Stroman. She was such an amazing leader in Toastmasters, and we volunteered on many committees together. I loved hearing her speeches when we were in the Out on The Town Toastmasters club together. Her command of the English language and background as a teacher made her stories particularly enjoyable. She was so full of life and kindness. I can’t believe I’m not going to see her face at another conference.
From Pat Quick, DTM
We lost an incredible lady today. A Toastmasters mentor, leader, role model and incredible person. I don’t think I ever saw Bonne without a smile on her face. She was a person you could go to for sound advice, a classy lady that will leave a hole where she once stood. As District 25 Governor, she and Dean Lampman gave me the opportunity to be Spring Conference Chair. “To Boldly Go” was our theme and she embraced that. There will be many Toastmasters that could eloquently pay tribute to her with their words but there are truly no words to sum up this life well lived and our great loss. I’m sure Bonne is already working to form Heavenly Toastmasters Club right inside the pearly gates. Can you imagine the speeches they will give and the table topics? Until we meet again Bonne!
From Jamie Pickering, DTM Past D25 District Director 2019-2020
Today is a sad day. The world lost an incredibly talented, kindhearted, just truly awesome soul. Bonne Stroman was my mentor, my leader, and my friend.
I remember first meeting Bonne, years ago in an elevator when I talking to a friend said, “those trio, they must have to be retired to do that!” And her responding with, “I work full time and am in the trio!”
Then I remember approaching Bonne at a conference to tell her I wanted to be considered for the Area Governor (director) role. My first step into leadership.
Then I remember her asking one night after I answered a table topic about leadership in a volunteer org versus leadership in the corporate world, “are you running for the trio?”
Bonne was my mentor all through my trio years. I can’t believe that has now ended.
She had so much more to give us and was taken too soon. I will deeply miss Bonne and will try my hardest to be someone she’d be proud of.
Edit: it occurs to me that my non-Toastmaster friends may not understand the above. Basically, Bonne, along with others, was instrumental in helping me become the leader I am today.
Post Note: Around 30 Toastmasters, whose lives were changed by Bonne, gathered after her beautiful memorial service for fellowship and to swap memories of our dear Bonne. It was upbeat and lively just like Bonne wanted it to be.
From Lauren Midgely, DTM
She was such a light for many – seeing the good in others and helped them bring more of that goodness to the surface. I always enjoyed listening to her perspective and way of looking at things. A brilliant lady, loved by many. Yes, she was taken too soon.
From Chris Raneri, DTM Past D25 District Director 2020-2021
In 2015, I attended the Friday night fun at the Fall Conference. It was my first time going to the after-hours event. You may remember this night – it was a costume contest. We had to come as our favorite detective. I came as Ace Ventura, pet detective. From the moment that I stepped into the ballroom, I could laughter coming from Bonne. After my on-stage performance, she awarded me with first prize. The ribbon itself was nothing special, probably purchased at the dollar store with a 1st prize sticker taped to it. The meaning for me, however, was huge. I cherished that ribbon she gave for the rest of the conference and still have it to this day. I’ll never forget the way she made me feel when I won, as well as her calling me Ace the rest of the weekend. It made me feel special and it was the first time I felt Toastmasters was my extended family.
An amazing leader, teacher, mentor, and friend. My heart is heavy with sorrow of her loss, but more importantly for those that will never know how incredible she was.
There are no words I could use here to express the sadness I felt when I first read the news of her passing. It seemed surreal. I wanted it to be a lie. She had a huge impact on so many people and saying she’ll be missed seems to under sell it by a mile.
I can’t wait to hear your evaluation of God’s prepared speech when you walk through the pearly gates. Rest in Peace!
From Susan Gardner, DTM Past D50 District Governor 2010-2011
I can still remember when Bonne Stroman called me to see if my dad and I could step in and help revive Soapbox Heroes Toastmasters Club near us. I really didn’t think I had the time, but Bonne had an amazing knack for ‘helping’ you believe that you were not only the right person for the job but the only person for the job! Dad and I had so much fun working with the club and while it eventually folded a few years later, it was always Bonne who gave us the boost to make it happen. Her beautiful smile, her teacher’s heart, and her love for others is something we should all hope to possess. Bonne you will be missed but I truly believe a little of you lives on in all who knew you. She blessed so many in her life. Please say hi to my dad for me.
From Michael Levy
We lost a great person in Bonne Stroman. I didn’t know her long; however, Bonne was one of the nicest folks I have ever met. You could see her genuine leadership and command of the room when she spoke at Toastmaster meetings. I am grateful for getting to meet Bonne. Her passion for people and anything Toastmasters never went unnoticed. I will miss her very much.
From Dean Lampman, DTM Past D25 District Governor 2013-2014
I’ve lost a precious friend recently, Bonne Stroman. I want to take a minute to honor her: her positive approach to life, her beautiful, omnipresent smile, and her love of language. She was a superlative professional communicator in her classrooms, where she taught English and in Toastmasters, where we worked together on all manner of content emanating from the leadership roles, we both held in District 25. We handled a lot of work together, and dare I say, did it well, but it was the camaraderie we shared and the ability to see what was good or funny in just about everything that made working with Bonne special. Marylee Mims was the third member of Bonne’s leadership “trio” in D25 for the 2012/2013 Toastmasters year. Perhaps our achievements are not remarkable enough to detail here, but as Oprah Winfrey would put it, what I know for sure is that we set, and tried to demonstrate, high standards and helped each other get better. People who can do that with equal grace and meaningful outcomes are few, but Bonne was one.
Bonne left this world far too soon but wouldn’t want us to languish in sadness. She’d be happy to know she’ll be remembered fondly by me and so many others fortunate enough to be among her friends and colleagues … but then she’d give us a clownish grin and remind us that Bobby McFerrin was right when he sang “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”
I’d like to thank my friend, Marylee, for calling me to inform me of Bonne’s passing. I also want to thank friends Diana Patton and Jamie Pickering for encouraging me attend the D25 honors event in August 2022, where a picture was taken of 13 years of District Governors and Directors from 2009 to 2022. Bonne is 4th from the left in the picture. (I am between her and Marylee.) As it turned out, this was my last chance to visit with Bonne. I would have been so disappointed to have missed it. And there is a lesson in that for me and all of us. Be sure to stay connected to those who matter to you. We simply don’t know how many opportunities we may have left to do so.
One little, shorter story I will mention concerns the To Boldly Go conference theme. It takes an English teacher like Bonne to point out that To Boldly Go is a grammar error. It should have been To Go Boldly. But Bonne kept that mostly to herself when it came time for her big education event. And a wonderful conference it was, which I always think of when I see the Captain Kirk cutout poster that she was gracious enough to let me have and which now sits in the bonus room of our home. I probably did not earn it portraying Kirk in the conference skit, but I drew some laughs anyway, which was Bonne’s goal (and our goal). May we all Boldly Go in her footsteps, or go boldly, or (putting my editor workaround hat on) just go!
From David Martin, DTM Past D25 District Governor 2010 – 2011
Some of my favorite memories with Bonne were times we were preparing for meetings at her home. She was one of the most authentic Texans I’ve ever known. Almost every piece of furniture, artwork, book, and knickknack was accompanied by an interestingly personal story. She was an incredible storyteller because her memories were vivid and detailed. She drew you by methodically painting pictures with her words. Bonne laughed at herself when she shared her feelings about life and about her love of people. Her special sense of humor and sense of self will be cherished.
From Chuck Mencke, DTM
We hope the pillars of our life will always be with us, such as our parents and those individuals who have had a profound impact on us. Unfortunately, that just isn’t so, that’s not the way life works. We are blessed when we cross paths with one of those special people in our lives. Bonne was this sort of incredible individual. She has left a huge legacy, a legacy of leaders.
In 2009, I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Bonne when I joined Toastmasters. The immense impact she had on me forever changed my life. At that time, I thought I knew everything there was about leadership. I soon found out I had no idea what true leadership was, that is until Bonne became my mentor. She introduced me to the concept of “servant leadership.”
About a month after joining Plus Two Toastmasters, Bonne came up behind my wife Terry and I, put her arms around the two of us and said, “Chuck and Terry, I have an ’opportunity’ for the two of you. I feel you would be perfect to host the hospitality suite at our Spring Conference next May.” I looked up at her replying, “Sure, what’s a hospitality suite and what’s a Spring Conference?” Bonne introduced us to the whole big world outside the walls of our first Toastmasters club, and the rest is history.
Many in District 25 and around the globe know me by my moniker, “Toastmonster!” I smile when I think back how I obtained the name; it was all due to Bonne’s belief in me. She did this with a lot of Toastmasters. She was able to see an ember burning in an individual and knew just how to fan it, setting the individual on fire! Bonne set my leadership journey on fire!
As I write this a quote popped up on the “quote deck” on my desk, which is a perfect way to close this tribute to my dearest friend and mentor, Bonne Stroman.
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~ Dakota Indian Proverb
Bonne set many of us on a path that has forged a lasting legacy that we too must now carry on in her memory.
From Sarfaraz Nazir, DTM
I’m so blessed that Distinguished Toastmaster Bonne Stroman and I crossed paths. I’ve known Bonne for over a decade. It was always a treat to see her at District 25 conferences, Toastmaster Leadership Institutes (TLIs), and club meetings. In May 2011, Bonne was elected D25 Lt. Governor of Education and Training (now called Program Quality Director). On Saturday, June 11, 2011, I had the honor of delivering the Opening (General) Session Keynote on Leadership at the District 25 TLI. Bonne sat in the front row of the university auditorium in Fort Worth, TX, along with Debbie Sanford, TLI Chairperson. I opened my presentation by mentioning some famous American men and why they were not examples of effective leaders. I went on to discuss three leadership lessons from a man halfway around the world. I did not reveal his identity until towards the end of my speech. After the session, Bonne walked up to me, smiled, and said, “Sarfaraz, all along during your presentation, I knew you were talking about your father.” What an insight! A few months ago, I saw her for the last time. She was still wearing that beautiful smile. We’ll miss her smiles, insights, and friendship. She was an inspiring teacher, a dedicated Toastmaster, and a delightful friend. She’ll be missed. Rest in Peace, Bonne.
From Brenda Daniels, DTM
What a great loss for our Toastmaster family and for the world. Bonne was so unique and special. She could challenge me and uplift me and others all at the same time. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives and hearts. Rest in peace Bonne, you have earned it.
From Charlie Bowles, DTM
Bonnie was one of those rare talents with a balance of ability, availability, and reliability. She was always there for people who needed her special talents. Her intelligence was quiet, yet freely given. She had the focus of someone who knew what her gifts were, but also the willingness to bring on the fun and enjoy the journey. She was a leader who led by example and people were willing to follow. Bonnie was the true model of letting her bright energy light the way. District 25, and all of Toastmasters, was blessed by her life. Thank you for a life well-lived.
From Tammy Kasterke, DTM
Bonne, what a wonderful lady you are. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement through the years. I will miss you!
From Jan Peterson
Bonne was a joy to be around. Always kind and patient. I strive to be like her. May she rest in peace. Prayers for you and the family.
From Heidi Giddan, DTM
I will truly miss her. I always loved her spirit and warm smile. I learned so much from her as well as many other fellow Toastmasters!!