Pierre J. Bonin ’60 died in August 2016, in Brattleboro, Vermont.
(The following was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on August 25, 2016:)
1938 – 2016 Pierre passed away peacefully at the age of 78, after living bravely and actively for more than 10 years after his prostate cancer diagnosis. He was a lover of ballet, travel, bicycling, great books and touching movies. He chose his own path and he made up his own mind about people and things and how he wanted to be in the world. He adored and respected his late wife, Betsey, and his two daughters, Stephanie and Danielle. He loved to get people talking so he could learn more about them, and sometimes so he could spark controversial political conversation. He was an active matchmaker at heart and a romantic, who got such pleasure in seeing other people find love and happiness, and who never gave up on his own. He was a dedicated conservationist who walked and biked everywhere, and would turn around and head out all over again if he forgot his re-usable bags. He cared deeply about how his actions affected the earth, and made every daily decision with that in mind. A diary, given as a wedding gift in 1970, began a lifelong passion for journal writing resulting in what he called his “book,” containing more than 45 years of his life as a husband, father and traveler. In 1978 after teaching in public schools for a number of years in Massachusetts and Colorado, he and Betsey bought The Book Cellar in Brattleboro, where they brought up their daughters. The sudden loss of Betsey in 1992 was devastating for him, but he continued to run the store for eight more years. Upon selling the Book Cellar in 2000, Pierre retired to Boston as he and Betsey had always planned to do, and he made full use of all Boston had to offer, constantly walking, biking and taking the T to every cultural performance he could. He led personalized, self-created bike tours throughout Boston, and was always striking up conversation with tourists from abroad, helping them get the most out of their time in Boston, and forging new friendships. His love of Paris had him traveling for long periods of time, staying with families, or doing house swaps. His final three-month-long visit was last year. He was well connected with his fellow classmates from Wellesley High School, and looked forward to each reunion where he did his best to convince them to have live music and a dance floor. There were many Friday and Saturday nights, up until very recently, where it was hard to get ahold of him because he was out dancing in Boston, wherever his favorite live music was playing. Pierre was the son of the late Jane and Maurice Bonin of Wellesley, MA, husband to to the late Betsey Bonin, father to Danielle Bonin Wollner of West Hartford, CT and Stephanie Bonin of Dummerston, VT, and father-in-law to Andrew Wollner and Keith Arnold. He was also grandfather to Emily, Olivia, Maisie and Lily ranging in ages from 4 to 10 years old. He worked hard to impart to them his love of cursive and the written word, and the importance of using a dictionary and knowing their math facts. He was looking forward to meeting their first loves.