Pat Bonnichsen 1930 – 2019

HIGHMORE, SD – Patricia Bonnichsen, 88, of Highmore, passed away Thursday, February 14, 2019 at the Highmore Health.

Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, February 18, 2019 at the United Methodist Church, Highmore with Pastor Kippy Udehn officiating. Burial will follow at the Highmore Cemetery. Visitation will be 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, February 17, 2019 with a 5:00 p.m. prayer service, all at the church.

Patricia Opal (Zoellner) Bonnichsen was born May 13, 1930 in Groton, SD to Melvin and Minnie (Schott) Zoellner and went to heaven to be with her Valentine on February 14, 2019 at the age of 88 in Highmore, SD.

Her entire life, she was very active in 4-H. In her youth, she won a trip to Washington, DC which was a very significant accomplishment for the time. She spoke fondly and proudly of it throughout her life.

She graduated from Groton High School and went on to obtain a degree in Education at Northern State in Aberdeen, SD. She then moved to Highmore and taught 3rd Grade. While there, she met her sweetheart and future husband, Martin Bonnichsen. They were married on August 26, 1951. To this union five children were born: Steven, James, Sue, Janet, and Cindy.

With a strong heart, she lovingly tended to her family. There were good times growing up on the ranch: fishing, hunting, trips to the gulch to go chokecherry picking, sledding, and skating at the big dam. There were also tough times. One especially difficult winter, Pat recalled food being dropped by airplane due to being snowed in. As her children grew up, Pat was always at the piano, keeping them entertained. With the rattle of a glass or the bang of a cup from Marty, she was quick to her feet to ensure the ice tea was cold and the coffee was fresh. She was an amazing baker; her caramel rolls and butter buns were the best.

She always wore a warm smile accompanied by her beaming blue eyes. Always interested, always smiling, always there for anyone in need. Pat made everyone feel like family. Treasured friends thought of her as family, and she did in return.

She served her community with zest. She was an active member of PEO and the American Legion Auxiliary. It was important to her that patriotism was instilled in her family and community. She was integral in the planning of poppy sales, Memorial Day wreaths, and Veterans Day programs. As a 4-H leader, Pat spent countless hours contributing her knowledge in sewing, baking, and canning. She was a devoted member of the United Methodist Church, attending services faithfully and volunteering her time on the organ and piano.

She is survived by her brother, Gene (Marlene) Zoellner; sisters-in-law: Arlys Zoellner and Joyce Aasby; four of her children: Steve (Cathy) Bonnichsen, James (Wanda) Bonnichsen, Sue Yackley, and Cindy Cermak; son-in-law, Rod Kusser; 15 grandchildren: Crystal (Rich Oeckler) Bonnichsen, Wendy Bonnichsen, Sarah (Lucas) Klumper, Justin (Morgan) Bonnichsen, Jacob (Katie) Bonnichsen, Holly (Michael) Ralston, Ben (Jenny) Yackley, Stephanie Yackley, Tyler Yackley, Dusty (Tomi Jean) Kusser, Weston (Kristin) Kusser, Bailey Kusser, Tracy (Howard) Eaton, Brett (Samantha) Cermak, and Kelsey (Popeye) Jones; 19 great grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives, and treasured friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Martin; brother, Keith; daughter, Janet; and two daughters-in-law: Susie Bonnichsen and Valerie Bonnichsen.

Luze Funeral Home of Highmore has been entrusted with Pat’s arrangements. Visit