Bonita “Bonnie” Jo Wheaton, 72, of Carterville and formerly of Carbondale, passed away Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at home, surrounded by her family.
A celebration of life, hosted by her family, will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 30, 2021, at the Ridge Church, 7350 Old Hwy 13, Carbondale, Illinois, with Pastor Wes Hensen officiating. Visitation will be from noon to 1:00 p.m., Saturday, at the church. The family asks you to dress casually and wear Bonita’s favorite color, blue, to honor her.
She was born September 13, 1948, in Ludington, Michigan, to Harry and Martha (White) Paulsen. She graduated from Mason County Central High School in 1967, and went on to attend Michigan State University. She later attended John A. Logan College, earning her certificate in ASL. She then attended SIU, earning her Masters in Family Studies. She worked as a Sign Language interpreter, teacher and with the elderly before retiring. She was married in 1969 and together they had 6 children.
Bonnie was an exceptional mother and grandmother. She was a foster parent for many years, having over 30 foster children. She was an honorary mother to many, loving any child that came through her door. She was also an amazing cook and seamstress, making countless wedding and formal dresses for family and friends. She was a loving devoted friend. She was an avid fan of Gospel music, especially the Booth Brothers and the Rebels Quartet, who were longtime family friends.
She is survived by her children, Darla Wheaton Barnes, Marshall (Missy) Wheaton, Dana (Travis) Leapley, Diana (Rich) Isaacs, and Matthew Wheaton; daughter-in-law, Debbie Wheaton; son-in-law, Steven Barnes; 11 grandchildren, Austin Wheaton, Jimmy Carder, Tyler, Trevor and Alyssa Leapley, Sedona, Kayce and Bradley Isaacs, Samantha Potter, Elizabeth (Aaron) Chesling, Mitchell (Chloe) Wheaton, Joshua (Gabriela) Wheaton; 7 great-grandchildren; sister, Ellen Chisholm; brothers, Ed (Faith) Paulsen and Mark (Rae Ann) Paulsen; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her twin sister, Donna; parents; son, Nicholas Wheaton; Aunt Mary; brother-in-law, John Chisholm; sister-in-law, Betty Paulsen; and nephew, Justin Paulsen.
Her family would like to extend a special thank you to Residential Hospice and Help at Home for the wonderful care they provided, and to her granddaughter Sam, who cared for her in the last years.
Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville assisted the family with cremation services.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bonita "Bonnie Jo (Paulsen) Wheaton, please visit our floral store.
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