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Date of Passing: Nov 10, 2020

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Born in 1931 at home in St. Boniface to Olga (nee Staub) and Jacques Masserey, Christiane (nee Masserey) died alone November 10, 2020, of the coronavirus, at the Health Sciences Centre, after being exposed at the Victoria Hospital.
She was the fifth of seven children born to hardworking Swiss immigrants, who lived off the large garden and goats and chickens they kept in the backyard. She was loved and cared for by her older siblings, Marcelle, Odette (Guyot), Roger and Pierrette (Marion), and she in turn cared for her younger brothers, John and Jim.
She fell in love with the cute guy down the block, Gerald Bonin, with the long eyelashes and red hair, and they married in 1954 settling in Windsor Park; where they raised their children, Lilian, Mickey, Colleen and Margo. Colleen's death in 1971 broke her heart, but she somehow remained an optimistic, strong woman taking every opportunity to enjoy life and love.
Chris graduated in 1952 from the St. Boniface Nursing School and worked for ten years in the Misericordia operating room before moving to St. Boniface Emergency, retiring in 1995. She loved nursing and cared deeply for her patients; she was an "old school" nurse who prided herself on bedside nursing and easing peoples' suffering.
Chris lived her life to the fullest, and she was full of life. For years, she swam daily at the Bonivital pool, was a devoted Tai Chi follower, downhill and cross-country skier, hiker, canoer, golfer, cyclist, blueberry picker and gardener. Flowers were a constant in her life, she grew prize winning roses and excelled at flower arranging for events. She also enjoyed the symphony and theatre and remained curious taking courses into her 80s. Chris and Gerry shared a love of travel, Costa Rica, Mali, Italy, Portugal and visiting Mickey and Mandy being among their favourite trips. In her 60s she cycled to Falcon Lake, a place that she so cherished, then predictably dove off the dock. Chris hiked the Mantario Trail with her sister Odette, twice. She loved Gimli, her "ocean", and the endless skies of the prairies. All her passions were carefully documented in volumes of photographs. She belonged to the Winnipeg Ski Club, Charleswood Ski Club, the Grey Hares, and Nature Manitoba. She loved being outside - housework was always left if it was a day you could jump on your bike, or go cross-country skiing. Her strong spirit and "joie de vivre" helped her survive stage 4 cancer in 2001. Her laugh and hugs will not be soon forgotten to all those who met her. Her children and grandchildren learnt from a young age that going outside to breath the air, no matter what the season and marvel at nature could cure almost anything. She loved being a mémé and grandma and shared with them her enthusiasm for outdoor activities. She was their advocate and biggest fan and could always make them feel better. Chris always stood in the window waving goodbye until one left the driveway. Although she will be sorely missed, we are so fortunate to have been in her world.
The family would like to thank the health care aides, nurses and physicians at the Victoria Hospital and Health Sciences Centre for taking care of her, as well as a big thank you to Dr. Kevin Coates for over 40 years of excellent care.
Christiane was predeceased by her beloved daughter Colleen, and husband Gerald (2012). She leaves her brothers, Jim and John (Annette), brother-in-law Hubert (Bert) Bonin, her children: Lilian Bonin and husband Daniel Levin, Mickey and his wife Mandy Bentham (U.K.), and Margo Bonin. Her caring legacy lives on in her grandchildren: Gabrielle and Dominique Levin, Quahaila (Janelle), Jeveva (Rob) and Kanaba Hewitt. She also leaves many nieces and nephews, that she loved and for whom she was a favourite aunt.
Cremation has taken place and a celebration of Chris' life will be held when we can all gather safely.
The family has established a Christiane Bonin Memorial Award to support nursing students at Red River College. Donations can be made to Christiane Bonin fund by phone: 204-619-0139, online or by mail Red River College, C-306-2055 Notre Dame Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3H 0J9 In honour of Chris be kind, laugh and go for a walk.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 21, 2020

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • ...AHEAD OF MY TIME: To the family of Christiane Bonin , please know that 'Chris' not only personified joie de vivre, she LIVED it! Chris must have just gotten into her 60's when I first encountered her regularly at the Pembina Hwy clubhouse of what was then the Taoist Tai Chi Society. Year in, year out, I would see Chris park herself just about anywhere inside the club to quickly change out of whatever she was last active at to get ready for the next tai chi class, or a workshop--cycling, in from the beach, cross-country skiing, swimming, returning from either her latest travels or a hike...Year in, year out, her secret was layers! Then off she would go to her next endeavours. And as much as she missed her Gerry following his passing, Chris wouldn't shy away from sharing a quick laugh over a story from their shared past...apparently we may have crossed paths as his work life took him to Saskatchewan where my folks ran a corner grocery for nearly four decades--another story. Again, my sincere condolences but I hope you will be blessed by a lifetime of memories, and smiles & laughter. Chris lived for it all...and I agree: "Lever nos verres a Chris!" - Posted by: RANDY CHAN ((fellow tai chi'er...)) on: Dec 01, 2020

  • I am so sorry to learn of Chris' passing. I have known her since the 70s as a friend of Lilian's. Growing up visiting the Bonin home was always a fun experience and Chris was very good to all of us teenagers. She had an obvious joie de vivre and a laugh that was contagious and she inspired many of us to be happy and enjoy life. - Posted by: Anita DeCruyenaere, nee Fraser (Friend ) on: Nov 28, 2020

  • Sad to hear this news...unfair on so many levels. The Bonins are a great old Windsor Park family, I have so many great memories of you guys! Always felt so welcome at your home on Brebeuf...Those were wonderful days and I will cherish them always...Lever nos verres a Christianne!! - Posted by: John Grafton (old friend) on: Nov 26, 2020

  • I was very sorry to hear of Chris's passing. She will be fondly remembered for her joy of life and living it to the fullest. Her quick wit and sense of humor is something I particularly enjoyed. My thoughts are with her family. I read with sadness what the family had to endure at these very difficult times. Lilian, I hope that your story will in some way, prevent other families having to experience what you did. - Posted by: James Magnan (Cousin) on: Nov 24, 2020

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