Bill Bonsen

William “Bill” Bonsen was such a thankful guy, it seems fitting that after battling cancer for 10 years, he went home on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2017, to thank his Lord, face to face, for His many blessings; his loving wife, his sons and daughter, grandkids, great grandkids, large extended family, and a great life for 78 years.

Bill was born in Bellingham to parents Chris and Mary (Waldemar) Bonsen. He graduated from Lynden High School in 1957. On Sept. 3, 1965, he married Marie Bovenkamp and together they had three children: Coni, Greg, and Grant.

In 1958, Bill began what was to be a 59-year career working as a Soil Conservation Specialist, first with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, then later with the Whatcom Conservation District. Bill cared about the environment, and he cared about the many dairy and berry farmers in Whatcom County. Bill designed the hundreds of lagoons, wildlife ponds, and drainage areas throughout our community. He literally walked acres and acres of farms in his career, and farmers honored him by calling him “friend”. Well known for his expertise in soil conservation, he often supervised soil and water erosion projects after fire season in California, Nevada, and New Mexico, and performed restoration work after natural disasters such as the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. After 47 years, Bill officially retired in 2005, but he couldn’t quite give up the job he loved so much and went back to work part-time for the Conservation District, working right up to the last week of his life. Bill was a soft spoken, yet highly respected man. He lived a life of service, serving in the National Guard, serving the farming community, serving his church community at First Reformed Church, and most of all, serving his family.

Bill was a family man. He spent time, real time, with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He saved up his vacation every year for winter break and it was a December filled with sledding, snow forts, and snowball fights. Bill could build anything, and spent countless hours with the kids building wooden cars, trucks, dollhouses, doll cribs, making go-carts, and later restoring muscle cars. No matter how tired, he’d throw batting practice to get ready for baseball games, shoot baskets for hours, and play tackle football with zeal. Best of all, rides in Bill’s red ‘64 Ford Galaxie…Oh the squealing tires! Bill loved his family well.

Gone ahead of Bill are he and Marie’s twins, parents, and brothers Les, Leonard, and Dale Bonsen.

Bill is survived by Marie, his wife of 52 years; Coni (Bruce) Van Beek; Greg (Shawna) Bonsen; Grant (Mariisa) Bonsen; grandchildren Brittany, John, Kayla, Shane, Nicole, Ezekiel, Luke, Macie, Emerie, and William; great grandchildren Annyka and Hazel; and numerous nephews and nieces. Bill will be greatly missed by his brothers Jerry and Bud Bonsen.

You are invited to join family and friends for a Celebration of Life service at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in First Reformed Church with Pastor Ryan Bajema officiating, reception to follow. Burial will precede at 12:15 p.m. in Monumenta Cemetery.

Memorials suggested to the Mission Fund, First Reformed Church, 610 Grover St, Lynden, WA 98264 or Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, P.O Box 19023, Seattle, WA 98109.

Please share your memories and condolences in the online guestbook at

Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Lynden.