People who think Facebook friends aren’t real friends are full of crap.
Bonnie Bucqueroux was a real friend.
She was generous and thoughtful and witty and talented and wise and interesting and one-of-a-kind. I’ve met a lot of people in my five decades on Planet Earth, and I can say with confidence that Bonnie was one of the most wonderful, intelligent, encouraging, dedicated and compelling women I’ve ever known.
The thick-skinned Michigan State University journalism professor and progressive activist died this morning at the age of 70. Although she had been experiencing health issues in recent weeks, her death was unexpected and took everyone by surprise.
Judging from her Facebook page, Bonnie touched a great number of people in a variety of ways while she was with us. It’s just been a few hours since she passed away and there are hundreds of messages, some short and sweet and some long and rambling. All of them pay tribute to a unique and giving woman who was loud when fighting for what was right and quiet when encouraging students and friends to feel good about ourselves, reach for our goals and make the most of the time we’ve been given.
Just like she did.
The “What’s the Diehl?” masthead at the top of this blog was designed by Bonnie. I didn’t ask her to do this; she just did it one day and forwarded it to me. In my early days of blogging, she provided input on the design and was one of the first to link her website, Lansing Online News, to this blog. She periodically sent unsolicited job announcements to me by private Facebook message and repeatedly invited me to appear on the radio show she hosted with a partner on Lansing Community College Radio WLNZ (89.7) although, like a fool, I never accepted her invitation.
Bonnie's YouTube channel has been viewed more than two million times.
Bonnie knew about photography and grant writing, computers and web design, community gardening and of course blogging. (A former congressional candidate on the Green Party ticket, she was a true trailblazer.) She told me once that she usually prefers animals to people – although judging by the roster of diverse guests who appeared on her radio show, she connected with people as easily as a duck takes to water. She cared about climate change, sustainable agriculture, politics and, of course, journalism, mentoring countless students and professionals and leaving a wider mark on her community, state and world than most do. She was a rabble-rouser, a radical, a hippie of sorts, from what I understand. I could and should have gotten to know her better. I really wish I had.
Rest in peace and thank you, Bonnie. Hopefully you know how lucky people feel to have known someone as good as you.