Bonnie Jean (Medley) Lindgren, passed away peacefully with her family at her side, Tuesday morning December 15, 2020, in McKinleyville.
Bonnie was born in Wellston, Ohio on March 24, 1928, to parents Belva and General Medley. She was 92 years old at the time of her passing.
As a girl growing up in Ohio, Bonnie and her two sisters experienced a rich family history with deep roots. One story she used to tell was of the time she went to a picnic for Civil War Veterans as a young child. She recalled the Veterans there were just young teens when they fought in the war. She told how she and her sisters wore white dresses with pretty ribbons in their hair to celebrate the special occasion.
Bonnie lost her mother as a young adult, and shortly afterward her family moved to Trinidad. It wasn’t long before she met and fell in love with Axel Lindgren II. The two were married in 1949 and honeymooned in San Francisco where the photo included here was taken. Axel once said they “owned all the sunshine in the sky” when recalling their honeymoon many years later. Bonnie’s family’s culture and Axel’s traditional Yurok culture blended so seamlessly as both were about family, history and knowing where you come from.
As the saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman, and that was surely true in the case of Bonnie and Axel. They worked together in business as well as in community service, all while raising six children together.
Bonnie was running a hamburger stand in Trinidad while Axel was logging. The hamburger stand was located near where the freeway is now, across from the gas station. For a time, they also took crab over to Hoopa, where they spent lots of time visiting, and also sold some crab. In 1970 they went to work in the Humboldt County Juvenile Hall, where they would go on to advocated for change of the treatment of Indian children and wrote new policy addressing issues they saw. After working for the county for several years and Axel having to advocate more and more for the protection of the Tsurai Village, they were looking for something with a little less stress. Bonnie and “Axe”, as she so fondly called him, ended up purchasing a janitorial service where they worked together for many years. After Axel’s passing in 1999, Bonnie kept on until her own retirement.
While raising kids and running businesses, they also found time to serve their community. Bonnie was briefly a member of the Trinidad Civic Club long ago, and was deeply disappointed how they have treated Axel, and his family. However, she really enjoyed all the years she volunteered to cook and serve people in the annual Crab Feed in Trinidad, that would later become the annual Fish Festival. While Axel was the one who officially held many of the various positions, Bonnie was right beside him making sure everything ran smoothly, he had what he needed, and everyone stayed fed. Whether it was when he was advocating for the preservation and protection of the Tsurai Village, coaching little league for 20 some odd years or serving on one of the many community organization boards, Bonnie was never far away.
Bonnie made sure all her children’s friends felt welcomed and knew they always had a seat at the dinner table. Many of them would later say she was like a second Mom to them. Bonnie and Axel were known to take in youth from time to time, and even had a foreign exchange student as a host family for the program in the ‘70s.
Bonnie loved spending time with both her sisters, but Sally and Bonnie stayed especially close after Axel’s passing, attending Tai Chi classes and shopping together. Bonnie, Sally and Sally’s husband Fred would drive over to visit their sister Virginia who resided in Anderson, Calif., whenever they could. She really loved those trips. When at home, she loved to read books and popular fiction was a favorite. She had a gift for knitting hats, scarfs and recycling socks to use for braiding rugs.
Bonnie was predeceased by her parents Belva and General Medley; husband Axel Lindgren II; sisters Virginia Hughes, and Sally Vanni; brothers-in-law Hank Hughes; William Lindgren; Glen Lindgren and Charles Lindgren. Sisters-in-law Louisa (Lindgren) Little; Francis (Lindgren) Meickle; Stella (Lindgren) Fredericksen; Georgia (Lindgren) Fullwider; Dixie (Lindgren) Benedict. Nephew Greg Hughes. Daughters-in-law Peggy Lindgren and Anna Lindgren.
Bonnie is survived by her children, Axel Lindgren III; Paris Lindgren (Cindy); Kris Lindgren; Lindy Lindgren (Lynn); Kelly Lindgren (Ralph); Connie Lindgren (Mike). She is also survived by her brother-in-law Fred Vanni; sisters-in-law Roberta Lindgren; Wilda Gallacci and grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchild, cousins, nieces, nephews, and many relatives too numerous to mention but still special to Bonnie.
Services to be held at a later date.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Bonnie Lindgren’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.