Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Christine Weber
Guest Writer 

Washakie County Homemakers 2017 Unsung Hero: Bonnie Hefenieder


May 9, 2017

By Christine Weber

Guest Writer

The Washakie County Homemakers has nominated Bonnie Hefenieder as the group’s 2017 Unsung Hero.

Bonnie has been a member of the Homemakers since the early 1970s; and currently as a member-at-large, serves as the Washakie County Homemaker’s Council’s secretary.

Bonnie was born in Hamilton, Montana, and at the age of 5 moved to Worland with her parents and siblings. She received her education through the Worland school system. It was during her senior year in high school she would meet her future husband.

“We didn’t have many activities back then so it was customary for teenagers to ‘drag main’ [drive up and down Big Horn Avenue],” said Bonnie. “That way you could see who was in the other cars.”

Bonnie spotted her ‘guy.’ He was driving a ‘57 Plymouth with blue fins and she learned his name was Bill Hefenieder.

“We really didn’t go on dates,” Bonnie said, “But Bill would pick me up after work and drive me home.”

At that time, Bonnie was working for the telephone company and her usual means of transportation were her two legs and it was a long walk to and from home. But those drives blossomed into romance and one year later the couple married on Aug. 20, 1961.

“We first lived in town, then in a trailer house on the property we now live,” said Bonnie.

That property belonged to the Hampton Sheep Co. and the house they presently live in, located on Washakie Ten is where Bill’s parents previously lived.

Bill helped farm with his father and Bonnie was kept busy raising the couple’s four sons: Bill, born in 1962; twins Jim and John in 1963 and Bob in 1968. Bill is semi-retired and has mostly relinquished farming and cattle duties to Jim, John and Bob. Bonnie does the bookkeeping for the farm and billing for the family’s cattle feedlot. In earlier years of marriage one could see Bonnie behind the wheels of a truck hauling corn or sugar beets.

“I also gave a lot of rides and many times our meals were switched around because of the field work,” she said.

Bonnie’s giving nature extended to her church where she taught Sunday school and helped with vacation Bible school. She also served on the church’s funeral committee for 20 years, a position she thoroughly enjoyed as she had the opportunity to visit with the bereaved and extend a hand of kindness.

As her boys were growing, Bonnie became an active 4-H leader. She taught whatever was needed, from weed science, to wood working to gardening.

“When my kids wanted to learn something that wasn’t taught, I took it upon myself to learn the subject and teach them,” Bonnie said. “I was also a 4-H community leader and helped with judging and record books.”

Bonnie served on the school board for two four-year terms in the 1990s and served two terms on the Washakie County Library Board. She served a term with the State Library Board and in 2008 joined the Washakie County Library Foundation.

“That was the year Margaret Lungren and I helped establish an endowment fund for our library after the legislature established the matching funds,” Bonnie said.

Bonnie is a member of the Worland WReds, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society.

“That is lots of fun and the ladies make it fun,” said Bonnie.

Her sons and their wives have blessed Bonnie and Bill with six grandchildren and one adorable great-granddaughter.

Bonnie has had a fulfilling life and asked if she would do it differently, she gave the honest answer of “yes.”

“I’m satisfied and have everything I need and want,” she said. “I’m happy and by in large pretty well satisfied. I have complete confidence where I’m headed when this life is over.”

Hopefully not too soon Bonnie, as the Homemakers want to share in your friendship and wisdom for years to come.


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