"Concerned with the General Welfare of the Deaf of Iowa"

Updated July 4, 2017


Bonnie James

June 13, 1947 - September 17, 2015

Bonnie Marietta Hanse James was born June 13, 1947 in Spencer, Iowa to Frederick and Marie Lambertus Hanse.

Bonnie graduated from Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1967. After graduation she moved to St. Louis to live with her sister, Ramona, and where she had a job opportunity working at the Medical Library at Washington University. She was employed there from May 1967 until November 1968. In November 1968, she started working at the United Pentecostal Church Headquarters in Hazelwood in the Order Department operating a bookkeeping machine. She was employed there until June, 1974, at which time she had to leave due to getting Minerer's disease. Then she had to live with sisters for a period of time. During this time, nephews and nieces came to love her dearly and she taught them sign language and gave them wonderful memories of nightly "parties" with them. Because of such times, throughout her life they were able to communicate with her.

On August 23, 1980, Bonnie married Ronald Ernest James of the St. Louis area in a beautiful lawn wedding at the home of her sister, Joanna. The marriage was performed by the Deaf Minister Pastor, Daniel Bradshaw.

Bonnie loved people and the joy of her life was going to conferences, retreats and camp meetings for the deaf. She and Ronnie traveled to many states to attend these. Bonnie was instrumental in founding the beginning of the Deaf Ministry in the United Pentecostal Church International. When she moved to St. Louis, She attended the Apostolic Pentecostal Church at 13th & Gravois, St. Louis, where she met Alta and Dan Bradshaw, who were interested in the Deaf and in learning sign language. Bonnie was an encouragement to the Bradshaw's as a result, the Bradshaw's went on to become coordinators of the Deaf Ministry of the United Pentecostal Church. The Deaf group grew in numbers and now there is a ministry for the Deaf in the United Pentecostal Church International, with annual conferences where many deaf people and leaders attend. Bonnie was so excited to attend this past conference in July 2015 at Anamosa, Iowa, even though she had just had a treatment of chemo for the cancer that took her life from earth at 8:35 AM, September 17, 2015.

Bonnie loved pictures and compiled many photo albums, as well as scrapbooking and card making. Bonnie's life influenced many people in the Deaf community as well as the hearing world. Many learned sign language at her encouragement, and are now interpreters and workers with the Deaf. She was known for her pleasant smile and personality and most of all for her love for God. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. This was proven by many friends, family, ministers and interpreters who visited her at the hospital during her last days on earth.

Bonnie is survived by her husband, Ronnie; sisters Norma (Ivor) Reuter of Spencer, Iowa, Ramona (JC) Panska of Savoy, Illinois, Joanna (Jim) West of Imperial, Missouri and a brother, Martin (Kristie) Hanse of Council Bluffs, Iowa; four nephews, Ivor Reuter III, Craig Reuter, AJ Panska, and Andrew West; three nieces, Gladys Borron, Lisa Lease and Angel Hans.

Funeral service for Bonnie was held at The Sanctuary, 965 Anglum Rd., Hazelwood, Missouri last September 19, 2015 at 6:45 p.m.  Interment was held at Sheperd Hills Cemetery, Barnhart, Missouri.

Hutchens Mortuary and Cremation Center, Florissant, Missouri arranged her funeral services.

Thanks to Hutchens Mortuary and Cremation Center, Florissant, Missouri and Jean Luedtke for the information.