Obituary: Bonita (Bonnie) J. Boex
July 25, 1944 – April 30, 2021
Longtime Dillon resident, Bonita (Bonnie) J. Boex, known fondly in Summit County as “the bird lady”, died Friday, April 30 of 2021 at the age of 76, after traumatic injuries from a car accident took her life.
Bonnie devoted much of her free time tirelessly building, maintaining and walking a bluebird trail along the northeast shores of Dillon Reservoir. Each summer, the 50-plus nest boxes Bonnie installed over the past 30 years serve as home to more than 20 pairs of mountain bluebirds, plus other cavity-nesting birds, including tree swallows and chickadees. Bonnie kept meticulous notes. Her data was used for conservation efforts at the Colorado Bluebird Project, the Denver Audubon Society and NestWatch, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She was known for her “unmatched” dedication among volunteers, and awarded several honors for her work.
Petite and slim, Bonnie was known for her boundless energy and enormous heart. She was a former cheerleader for the Green Bay Packers, and loved to ski, bike, hike and kayak. She swam a mile every day until the accident. Neighbors, friends and strangers called upon her at all hours for advice and assistance with various bird and wildlife emergencies. Bonnie was always ready and willing to help. She was passionate about animals, wildlife and all God’s creatures.
Bonnie was the bookkeeper for Neils Lunceford in Silverthorne for 13 years until she retired in 2014.
Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, July 25, 1944 to Cyril and Evelyn Smeester, Bonnie was sister to two brothers, Robert (deceased) and Richard, and two sisters, LeeAnn and Diane. She was mother to Steve (Pati Sawyer Boex) with her first husband, Michael Boex, and proud grandmother to Micala and Annika. She married her second husband, Edwin (Ed) Baker in Breckenridge, on September 9, 1989, and became step-mother to Peter (deceased) John (Julie Hauck) and Amy (Ian Paton) and grandmother to their children: Emily & Will Paton, Macauley and Cole Baker.
Ed and Bonnie moved to Dillon in 1983. They lived with their dogs on Tenderfoot Street until 2019. Even after the couple moved to Denver, Bonnie continued to drive to Summit County to care for “her blues”. Bonnie’s friend, Carolyn Tiller, helped her with the bluebirds when Bonnie was not able to make the drive and has taken over care of the trail since her passing.
Kevin Corwin, fellow volunteer and lead for the Colorado Bluebird Project and Bonnie’s mentor and guide in her conservation efforts, was very special to her.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bonnie’s memory may be made to the Colorado Bluebird Project (CBP) c/o Denver Audubon Society, 9308 S. Wadsworth Blvd, Littleton 80128, or online at denveraudubon.org (indicate in memory of Bonnie and CBP details in comments section).
Details for a memorial will be announced at a later date.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.