Bonnie Armbruster Obituary

Bonnie Betts Armbruster
Bonnie Betts Armbruster

December 25, 1948 - March 1, 2016
Born in Washington, DC
Resided in Bend, OR


Dr. Bonnie Betts Armbruster Obituary
Bonnie B. Armbruster, PhD, 67, died suddenly on March 1, 2016, in Bend, Oregon. A Memorial Service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 61980 Skyline Ranch Rd, Bend, OR, 97702 on Saturday, March 19th, at 11:00 am. Details can be found at Baird Funeral Homes (
Bonnie was born December 25, 1948, in Washington, DC, and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and Bremerton, Washington. She graduated from Fort Hunt High School in Alexandria, and attended Swarthmore College for two years before joining Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), where she met her future husband, Harry VanderVelde. After VISTA, she battled and overcame Hodgkin's Disease, and later received her BA from San Francisco State University. Bonnie and Harry married on May 27, 1973, and moved to the Midwest, where Bonnie earned her PhD in Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She remained at the U of I as a distinguished professor until retirement in 2009, adopting three children along the way, Kristina, Seth, and Ruth. In retirement, Bonnie and Harry adopted their granddaughter Lena and moved to Bend, Oregon, where Bonnie became active in Partners in Care Hospice, CASA of Central Oregon, and book clubs at several local retirement centers. Bonnie was also an avid amateur photographer and loved exploring nature.
Bonnie is survived by her husband Harry VanderVelde; daughters Kristina VanderVelde and Ruth Maher; son Seth VanderVelde; granddaughter Lena VanderVelde; and brother Larry Armbruster.
She is preceded in death by parents Ralph and Marjorie (Betts) Armbruster, and stepmother, Janet Armbruster (Schilling).
Donations may be made to CASA of Central Oregon (, or Partners in Care ( Please designate contributions in honor of Bonnie Armbruster.




Memorial Service
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
61980 Skyline Ranch Road
Bend, OR
Saturday, March 19, 2016
11:00 AM
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CASA of Bend
1435 NE 4th St., Suite C
Bend, OR 90046
Bonnie Armbruster joined CASA as an advocate in the fall of 2014 and dedicated many hours to her two cases, developing relationships with the children and their families. Bonnie fought tirelessly for the best interests of the children she served, and will be greatly missed.