NIAGARA FALLS —
Bonnie Nafus, 77, a dedicated commercial art teacher and talented local artist, passed from this life on Monday, August 19, 2013, at her residence, while under the care of Niagara Hospice.
Bonnie was born in Niagara Falls, NY, the daughter of the late Earle and Doris Blaine. She began her career in design at Abrams Aerial Survey in Lansing, MI, creating elevation maps from photographs of Russian topography. Later, she returned to Niagara Falls where she and her husband, Roland Nafus, built their own home. She held an applied design position at Bell Aerospace working in the technical illustration department. She continued her career in design at Chisholm Ryder where she created detailed drawings for use in building the first grape picker with mechanical harvesting functions.
While raising her family and working, she attended Buffalo State College. At school, Bonnie honed her artistic talent. Upon completion of her bachelors and masters degrees in art education, Bonnie entered the education field. She brought real world skills, acquired while doing design work for various industries, to her career at Erie 1 BOCES, making her an exceptional commercial art teacher. She taught at Harkness Center and Ken-Ton High Schools.
Bonnie took great pride in the success of her students. Her students went on to have their own careers in the commercial art industry, working for employers such as Disney and Fisher Price. Over the years, many of her students kept in contact with her, crediting her teaching to the success that they have had in their own careers.
After retiring from teaching, Bonnie continued creating artwork on commission or for display in art shows and in the homes of her friends and family. Bonnie was a founding member of the LaSalle Art Group and was active in other art groups and societies in Erie and Niagara counties. As a breast cancer survivor, Bonnie contributed artwork to Roswell Park Cancer Institute's "Paint Box Project," including one painting that turned into one of their most popular holiday card designs.
She also enjoyed camping with their dogs at the family-owned property in Rushford, NY. Every year for the last 40 years, she and her husband met friends for a camping trip to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
She will be deeply missed by survivors including her husband of nearly 60 years, Roland Nafus of Niagara Falls, NY; a son, Ronald "Mike" Nafus of Niagara Falls, NY; daughters, Deborah (Michael R. Mauriello) Nafus of Houston, TX and Jamie Nafus of Rush, NY; sisters, Jeri Mastny of San Diego, CA, Deborah Eckert of Niagara Falls, NY, and Sherry Rook of Niagara Falls, NY; and a brother, Earle Robert Blaine of Massachusetts. She was predeceased by her sister, Linda Venuto. Bonnie was also beloved by her many nieces and nephews.
The family will be present to receive friends on Thursday from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM in the Chapel of OTTO REDANZ FUNERAL HOME, 2215 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY (716-297-9007), where a funeral service will be celebrated on Friday, August 23rd, at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow in Mount View Cemetery in the Town of Cambria, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial offerings may be made to Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY 14094; or to the SPCA of Niagara, 2100 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls, NY 14304.
To leave a personal message for the family, please visit www.ottoredanz.com and www.niagara-gazette.com/obituaries.