During the course of Jay's military service Bonnie was home alone on two occasions. The first when he was in Vietnam; the second was with her children when he was in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As part of Jay's U.S. Army retirement ceremonies in 1996, Bonnie was awarded the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award.
Following his military service, Jay was hired by Florida State University in its continuing education organization and Bonnie was hired by FSU's Claude Pepper Institute and also did continuing education programs - those designed for the senior citizens of the community. They loved FSU. Anne graduated from high school in Tallahassee and attended FSU. The family went to many university events and had season football tickets. In the fall the Bradens would gather at football games to cheer on their Seminoles.
During this time daughters Karen and Sandra had settled in the Tampa area as their home, and Sandra had been married to husband Steve. So Jay and Bonnie desired to move back into the Tampa area. When Jay completed his doctorate, he applied to and was hired by Stetson University at its campus in the town of Celebration, near Orlando. They moved back into their home in Valrico (on the east side of Tampa) that they had been renting, with the goal of moving into the Orlando area. But, as it turned out, Jay commuted for the next 12 years to and from his job. For many of those years it was not too bad because he was allowed to work from home two days a week. Jay retired in February 2012.
Because Bonnie and Jay lived in Valrico, they were close to Sandra's family, Karen's family, and Anne; which was good. For some of this time Robert, who had graduated from high school in Tallahassee and graduated from Georgia Tech, went to serve as a missionary in England. A few years ago Robert and his wife Natalie returned from England and they now live in Lanett, Alabama where Robert works for a bank.
Bonnie was known to her grand children as MiMi. She loved on them joyfully and completely. She loved to have them come to the house to play and use the pool. She loved taking them on vacations. She loved visiting them at their schools and helping out in their classrooms. She loved to watch them in their various sports and group activities. And when it came to purchasing things for her children and grandchildren, Bonnie – who was the family’s astute money manager – had no limits on buying them whatever they needed . . . and more.
Bonnie loved all family activities. One of her favorites was family cruises. Over the last eight years the family took taken eight family cruises, all in the Caribbean or to Mexico. Bonnie also had a favorite resort at Daytona Beach, and the family gathered there many times in December, beginning the day after Christmas and staying until New Year's Eve.
Bonnie loved her church: Bell Shoals Baptist Church; she loved her Bible Fellowship class. She was a devoted Prayer Warrior, beginning each day with her Bible and Bible studies. In addition to her “regular” prayers, she had a weekly schedule of special prayers: Monday: Family; Tuesday: Government; Wednesday: Teachers; Thursday: Family; Friday: Missionaries; Saturday: America, and Sunday: Church Minister’s and Staff. She kept many journals that tracked her prayer life and her prayers. Also, she loved her First Baptist Church tennis league. She loved her time with the First Baptist Deaf Ministry. She loved her Zumba classes at the First Baptist Ministry and Activities Center (MAC). She loved working with the Bell Shoals Shower Ministry at the First Baptist Church of Mango. She loved helping out with the distribution of food and presents for the Gift of Life programs at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
She was a good seamstress and a very fine cook. She was good with crafts.
She was a great encourager to her husband her children her grandchildren her friends and to even people she only casually knew. At the time of her death:
- Her daughter Karen Alvarez had three children (triplets), age 7: Braden, Daylin, Skyler.
- Her daughter Sandra Roberts and husband Steve had three children: Savanah (14), Seth (12), Sydney (7)
- Her daughter Anne and her husband Rusty lived in New Orleans where Rusty attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and prepares to earn his Masters of Divinity.
- Her son Robert and his wife Natalie had three children: Benjamin (5), Everett, (2), Charlie (4 ˝ months). They lived in Lanett, AL.
Bonnie's father died shortly after she was married, and two of her brothers and one of her sisters predeceased her. Bonnie's mother, Claire, died just a few years ago. Known as GiGi, she was a gem of a woman, a beautiful lady, warm hearted, a loving spirit, and someone who had a deep love of God. Bonnie inherited many of her fine traits.
Bonnie's living brother Paul (wife, Dorothy) is a fisherman at Cape Hatteras, NC. Her living sister, Kim, works with her husband Troy in their family auto mechanic business in Ormond, FL. Each couple has two children.
Bonnie was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on August 15, 2014 in a beautiful and professional ceremony. Bonnie’s Father, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Farrar Dunn II, recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, is also interred there nearby in Section 25, Grave 4279