Behind-the-scenes person for ANIMALS 24-7, & that was perhaps the least of all she did
Patricia “Patty” Bonney, 92, suffered terminal heart failure on October 22, 2022 at the converted stable in Beaverton, Oregon, that was her home since 1960.
Never known or self-described as an activist, Patty nonetheless contributed endless volunteer effort throughout her life to charitable causes, including the cause of informing animal and environmental advocates.
Patty also was a living link to some of the most storied history of the American West, several generations of direct ancestry removed from the Nez Perce acquisition of horses in the late eighteenth century and only two generations removed from the Chief Joseph saga in the late nineteenth century, all well remembered within her extended family.
“I would just as soon stay anonymous”
“I would just as soon stay anonymous,” Patty told ANIMALS 24-7 when offered a staff credit for her eight years of conscientious almost daily proofreading.
“I’m happy to be able to do something useful for the cause,” she said, then changed the subject, as she usually did when the topic turned to herself, though she did like to talk about her family and pass along stories learned from her parents and Nez Perce ancestors.
What Patty most often talked about, in approximate order, was her prodigiously productive knitting to help local charities assisting children, the disabled, and the elderly; her five adult children and many grandchildren; animals she observed, though she never kept pets as an adult; and vegan and vegetarian cooking, preferably from scratch using easily available ingredients and simple recipes, that she could share with her longtime vegetarian youngest daughter Regina, others in her family, and legions of friends.
Patty enjoyed folk dancing and even hula dancing into her late eighties.
She also loved telling a few stories on me.
“Did you ever tell Beth,” she asked shortly after Beth and I were married in 2014, “about the time when you were quite small and walking through a grocery store with your mother, saw the hamburger display, and asked if they were skinned worms?”
As a lifelong second-generation vegetarian, I had never seen ground meat before.
Beth and I first encountered Impossible Burgers while taking Patty to lunch at the New Seasons supermarket and deli in Beaverton in 2018.
“That was research that you didn’t know that you would be doing when we went there,” Patty recalled.
Patty never described herself as either vegan or vegetarian, but in eight years’ worth of emails in the ANIMALS 24-7 archives, she never mentioned consuming animal products or byproducts either, except to recall twice that she had given up drinking milk when she could no longer buy fresh raw milk locally, and had given up eating tuna decades earlier.
Patty meanwhile loved introducing others to vegan food she prepared herself.
“Today after church we had a going away party for our much-loved interim pastor,” Patty mentioned on one occasion. “The protein dish involved eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, and other things. Tasty, but not as good as all the eggplant dishes I enjoyed in Turkey,” on a 1995 backpacking trip around the world.
“Things I can carry easily on the bus”
Patty was delighted soon afterward to discover that “The wife of our new minister is vegan. Since sometimes we have potlucks, I want to think of some suitable items,” she said.
“By suitable, I include things that I can carry easily on the bus and don’t have to chase all over shopping for ingredients. Salads are difficult for me to carry. Usually I take cookies or bread, and my cracked wheat rolls can be vegan. Carrying barbecued tofu around would not be easy.”
Shortly after that, Patty wrote, “At knitting guild every Christmas we are assigned categories by last name, desserts, entrees, and salads. I turn out carrot raisin salads or broccoli salads, with the aid of my food processor.
“For main dishes I do my trusty baked and then mashed sweet potatoes, combined with crushed pineapple and dried cranberries. Trader Joe’s carries orange-flavored dried cranberries that add to the flavor, although the plain ones do well.
“Tomorrow we have a potluck,” Patty continued. “I’m taking my sweet potato casserole, with crushed pineapple (in its own juice, of course), no added sugar, some candied ginger snippets for those who want, so vegetarian, even though not vegan.
“I’m baking bread, set tonight, baked in the morning, to take for the auction. For some reason, almost every recipe I’ve seen for sweet potatoes involves adding sugar of some sort, and they are much better without.”
My oldest friend, my mother’s best friend
Patty was my oldest friend, and before that was my mother’s best friend, first in high school and later mostly by correspondence, for 66 years, ending with my mother’s death in 2008.
When I went away to university in 1970, a few days short of my 17th birthday, Patty added me to her lengthy correspondence list, although I had only met her three times in childhood and had never corresponded with her before.
Patty then became a weekly correspondent after I moved to Quebec in 1977, covering animal and environmental issues for several small-town newspapers.
Weekly packets of clips
Every week brought a packet of clips from Patty about such topics as acid rain, fish, forestry, lake eutrophication, the effects of high-voltage power lines on birds, wildlife, and cattle, and anything else she saw, or was sent by others in her own far-flung network of correspondents, that she thought might be of interest.
Three times during those years I won national awards for environmental investigative reporting. Every one of those awards evolved directly from following up leads obtained through Patty’s clips.
Eventually, before the advent of email and websites replaced snail-mail, I built a network of as many as 200 people who sent me clips from their local newspapers on a regular basis, reporting news that did not make the national wire services. Among them, Patty was both the first and the last.
Warmly welcomed Beth
Patty warmly welcomed Beth into my life in 2014. As together we built ANIMALS 24-7, Patty became first to read and respond to almost every article, catching and enabling us to swiftly correct more than 750 typographical and grammatical errors––nearly 100 per year––that had eluded our own eyes and spell-checking programs.
Patty’s favorite ANIMALS 24-7 contributors, she mentioned, other than ourselves, were John Robins of Animal Concern Scotland, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness founder Steve Hindi, and Canadian syndicated columnist Barbara Kay.
“Tough to lose Tom Regan”
But Patty recognized the names of almost everyone of prominence in animal and environmental causes, offering accurate personal assessments of many, even though she never met any of them in person.
She had read books by Cleveland Amory, Pat Derby, Ric O’Barry, and many others even before there was an animal rights movement.
“Tough to lose Tom Regan so young,” she wrote at his death in October 2017. “The world needs more like him.”
Patty seldom said anything bad about anyone, but made exceptions for animal abusers, vivisectors who failed to make every effort to minimize animal suffering, alleged conservationists who favor killing introduced and competitor species to “help” endangered species, anyone who pushed dangerous dogs, and anyone who enriches himself or herself in the name of helping animals, especially scammers.
Had no use for scammers
As a senior citizen living on Social Security, Patty had particular contempt for national animal and environmental charities that spent donor money bombarding her with direct mail solicitations, even though she had never donated to any of them.
Patty disliked email solicitations even more.
“I receive dozens of begging emails every day,” Patty complained, “and the amounts requested are astronomical. I never send to any of them. I delete them as soon as I see they are asking for money. While I’ve never added up to find what the total would be if I selected only the minimum requested, I know it would run into thousands.
“I don’t join boycotts,” Patty added, “but there are products that I won’t buy because of the company. Nestle is one of them. Besides, the other companies make much better chocolate chips. I don’t think that they will notice my refusal to buy from such companies, but I feel better not supporting them.”
Backpacked around the world at age 65
A highlight of Patty’s life was her 1995 backpacking tour of the world, traveling often with friends, but sometimes alone.
“When I was in Norway,” she recalled, “a woman at a restaurant asked me if I had eaten whale. I told her that it wasn’t on the menu, but if it had been, I wouldn’t have eaten it. She dropped the subject and didn’t linger.
“I was in Turkey on the day [Ramadan] of feeding sheep to the poor. We didn’t go where it was going on.
“In Morocco I rode a camel. In Australia I rode a camel. At the San Diego Zoo there was a big Bactrian camel standing inside his pen about two blocks from where I stood, and the stench was overpowering. The thought of rocking across the desert while knitting on camelback never tempted me,” Patty said.
“In Australia we were riding across the Nullarbor Plain and saw what was left of a camel after a collision with a truck,” Patty continued. “At the next stop, a gas station miles down the road, we saw what was left of the truck that had run into the camel.
“When we were in Albany, Western Australia,” Patty added, “we stayed with a couple involved with rescuing wildlife, working with authorities. They had a big picture window. It was such fun to watch the scenery bounding past. They took in kangaroos and others who had been hurt and couldn’t return to the wild. They had a bird who was ready to return to the wild, but couldn’t take off from the ground. Something had happened to its wing.
“They had to take it up on a high point and toss it into the air so it could fly. It flew off perfectly, making a happy ending.”
“Lots of dolphins”
Along the Western Australian coast, Patty reported, “We didn’t see any sharks of any sort, but lots of dolphins when I was wading in the Indian Ocean, which was not hot, but too warm to be refreshing.
“If there were sharks among the multitude of dolphins,” Patty said, “I would have expected the dolphins to react, instead of continuing to look as though they were just having a good time in the water.
“The water I was wading in was less than a foot deep and within a couple of feet from the shore. I wondered if any sharks would want to be in such warm water. I wasn’t interested in finding out how far out the warm water persisted.
“The Indian Ocean always seemed to be so impossibly far away that it was hard to believe I was wading in it. I had always associated it with India, even though I knew it splashed on Australia’s shore, too.
“I saw a cassowary in an Australian zoo,” Patty mentioned. “We saw wild emus in Western Australia. One time we thought we couldn’t miss hitting one that dashed in front of our camper van, but we could see it still running after we passed. We never saw a dead emu beside the road, unlike the multitude of dead kangaroos. I read later that a truck went out and picked them up every day. There seemed to be no scavenger birds around.
“I visited the Singapore Zoo,” Patty continued. “Other zoos I visited while traveling were Stuttgart (my first sight of flamingos, who were roaming around,) and Vienna (first sight of Przewalski’s horses). I visited a sanctuary in South Australia and I don’t remember if one in Victoria was a sanctuary or a zoo. We could watch a platypus swimming around in a large tank. The room was kept quite dark.
“I understand about keeping the animals confined,” Patty acknowledged, “while I also like to see them. I went out whale watching one time, and I’ve seen gray whales occasionally along the Oregon coast, and Keiko in the aquarium in Newport,” his home from January 1996 to September 1998.
“I know that Keiko shouldn’t have been captured in the first place, let alone go through everything else he suffered through,” Patty said, “but seeing him up close was much more impressive than going out in a boat to see gray whales.
“I love otters,” Patty added, recalling a river otter who became stranded in a tidal pool near the Willamette River on the Milwaukie side, but escaped when the river tide rose.
“One time at Newport, Regina and I saw a sea otter in the bay,” Patty continued, lamenting that “Things have changed along the bay front so that the sea lions can’t mass there any longer. There is no longer space for them to lie around.”
Patty shared the discomfort many animal advocates have with 4H programs that first encourage children to bond with young animals, then oblige the children to sell those animals for slaughter. But she encouraged a local 4H program in which children raise animals for wool.
“Each girl had a fiber goat and a rabbit,” Patty reported from the 2016 Washington County Fair. “Their animals were not for sale, nor would they ever be eaten. The girls looked absolutely horrified that anyone would consider selling them or eating them. One of the boys had a picture of him holding his pride and joy, the biggest chicken I ever saw. She was not for eating, just for winning prizes.
“My older great granddaughter grows her rabbit’s favorite greens and takes good care of her pet,” Patty added. “I’m glad that I know some young people who really care about their animals and take care of them lovingly, and keep them clean, safe, and well fed. I realize that isn’t your ideal situation, but it does mean that the youngsters learn how to love and care for their animals, which will be a benefit to the world and all who dwell therein.”
Patty also did a lot of animal-watching right in her own neighborhood.
“The people who live in the second house north along the road have a few chickens and two small goats,” she narrated. “I usually don’t walk in that direction. Someone I know who lives farther along said that there are rats hanging around there. At one point the people had a sign up for eggs at $5 a dozen.
“We have lots of Steller’s jays around. There were lots of opossums in the area when I first moved out here. It has been many years since I last saw one.
“Nutria stay off the roads. There was a big boom in nutria, not as food, but for their fur, in the early 1950s. Now there is a colony of nutria at the end of the golf course,” half a mile from her home, “in a fenced area. There are other places where they live without bothering anyone, as long as people don’t try to pet them, in which case the nutria bite, according to the sign in one such area.
Raccoons & opossums
“We did lose a great blue heron some years ago who couldn’t rise fast enough when flying out of the golf course,” Patty lamented, while crediting the presence of the golf course for keeping her neighborhood from becoming overdeveloped.
“For a long time here, dead opossums were common,” Patty observed. “Then raccoons returned to their native habitat, and I haven’t seen a dead opossum in many years, and I’ve never seen a dead raccoon. An occasional squirrel is about all I see dead by the road any more.
“We don’t see bats here, probably because I’m rarely out at the time to see them. We used to see them.
Rabbits & coyotes
“We have little wild rabbits around again these days. They haven’t been here for decades. I wonder if the coyotes have dwindled. I’ve not seen any for a long time, but I’m probably not in the right place. For a while they were around a lot. One rabbit is living in my carport, back in the corner where no coyote could get at it.
“I hadn’t seen a coyote around here for I don’t know how long, maybe a couple of years,” Patty continued, “until one dashed out of the brush and hightailed it up to the road. It had been trying to catch the rabbits, I’m sure. I used to see them once in a while, but then I don’t get around as much as I used to. I never saw more than one at a time and never felt threatened. They mostly seemed to want to avoid me.
Pit bull changed walking habits
“I can’t remember,” Patty said often, “how long it has been since I’ve seen a stray cat or dog in this area. People seem to abide by laws about keeping dogs on leashes if they are off their home territory. Rarely something will trigger the carport light. I figure it is a coyote or raccoon, more likely the latter.
“I’m sure there are areas with strays,” Patty conceded. “I’m just not familiar with them, luckily. I’m thankful that I don’t see any dogs running around loose in our area, or any pit bulls or mixes in yards, or on leashes. Now that we have sidewalks,” installed relatively late in Patty’s tenure in the neighborhood, “people walk their dogs, but none that I worry about.”
Not worrying about local dogs changed in 2016 when a new neighbor several houses to the south chainsawed down many of the trees that had buffered Patty’s vicinity from traffic noise and brought in a pit bull, who briefly terrorized the vicinity before disappearing.
Bitten by “smallish mutt” & German shepherd
“I cross the road rather than walk on this side when I have to pass the house with the pit bull I’ve never seen,” Patty said. “When the path through the woods is dry, I can walk through our woods and wind up two houses past the offending house.
“The path has another yard between the pit bull house and our path, and moderately heavy underbrush and fences.
“The people before had dogs,” Patty recalled. “I could see them through the fence, as well as hear them bark when anyone went by. The dog who bit the back of my ankle looked like a mix, a smallish mutt. I was visiting there, and his owners left me in the yard with him.
“The dog who took a big bite on the back of my right thigh was a German shepherd. I was walking along minding my own business, not on his property, and he probably thought that I was a danger to his owner’s mother, who was far across the yard.
“The German shepherd came up from behind and sank his teeth in.”
“Never underestimate the stupidity of owners”
“Never underestimate the stupidity of those with dangerous dogs,” Patty advised, having had a next-door-neighbor die in hospital after a prolonged stay years earlier, months after a pit bull mauling from which he never recovered.
“Long ago,” Patty remembered, “when I delivered raw milk, one family had pedigreed Dobermans. The three little boys and the dogs were fine together, but whenever I came to the door, the dogs were ready to grab me. If they hadn’t been restrained at all times, I would have been hamburger.”
Patty also recalled “this dingbat woman I knew who adopted two of the dogs when they closed the dog track in Portland, even though she had terminal cancer. I don’t know what happened to the dogs when she died.
“If the pit bulls, etc. would just stick to killing off the idiots who want to foist pit bulls off on the rest of us,” Patty offered, “the people would be eligible for the Darwin Award and pit bulls and their ilk would be a thing of the past, along with the idiots.
“The trouble with the Darwin Awards system,” Patty acknowledged, “is that too many innocent bystanders are slaughtered in the process, and I don’t really want the owners maimed and killed just because they are stupid and detrimental to society.”
Old MacDonalds were ancestors
Scottish historian James Hunter, author of Glencoe and the Indians, several years ago traced the ancestry of Patty’s mother to an Angus McDonald, who “as a teenager, was a soldier in the Highland army that, in 1746, was broken at Culloden,” the pivotal battle in the final British conquest of Scotland.
The McDonalds, also known as MacDonalds, appear to have gone back and forth between spellings of their surname every other generation for centuries.
“Angus’s father, John MacDonald, when a small boy,” Hunter wrote, “fled into the snow-covered Glencoe hills on the night, in February 1692, when Scottish government soldiers massacred his McDonald clan,” who were in turn descended from “Somerled’s earliest authenticated ancestors, such as Gofraid, son of Fergus, who came to the Highlands from Ireland in the year 835.”
The McDonalds were Catholics, aligned with Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, which made them persona non grata to the Anglican British monarchy.
Explained Hunter, “John MacDonald was the great-great-great-grandfather of Duncan McDonald,” the half-Scottish, half Nez Perce journalist “who met with Chief White Bird in Sitting Bull’s camp in 1878” to research and explain to white readers the Nez Perce side of the Chief Joseph saga.
Duncan McDonald (1849-1937) was a grandson of Andrew McDonald, who fled to the U.S. in 1774, and was a son of a second Angus McDonald, a fur trapper who wandered into Montana circa 1830. There Angus McDonald met the Nez Perce, who had become Catholic several generations earlier through contact with Quebecois trappers and missionaries.
Patty distanced herself from the fur trapping history. “My own opinion is that fake fur is far nicer than the real thing,” she said in telling the story.
Angus McDonald married Catherine Baptiste, daughter of Chief Looking Glass of the Nez Perce, at a time when tribal elders still remembered the first Nez Perce to acquire horses from the Apache and Commanche, circa 1700.
Archibald G. MacDonald, a Nez Perce descendant, journeyed to Nova Scotia in the late nineteenth century to reconnect with Scottish relatives. There he married Margaret Virginia Fletcher. Their daughter, Patty’s mother, Plesah R. MacDonald, was born on October 25, 1899, in Shubenacadie, East Hants, Nova Scotia.
The MacDonalds returned by 1910 to Norris, Montana, in Nez Perce country. Plesah married Patty’s father, Francis Dewey Haines, on June 30, 1922.
Francis Haines, Patty remembered, “grew up the fourth in a family of 12, and there was never enough to eat.
“Once his Uncle Charlie shot enough squirrels to make a pot of stew and had Daddy and his next younger brother Jesse over. They ate until they could barely move, the only time they had ever had enough to eat.
“One summer they were supposed to look after someone’s sheep. The sheep disappeared. However, the kids found a patch of wild raspberries which nourished the family for years.”
The Haines children also lacked adequate winter clothing. Their Nez Perce neighbors bought them all winter coats once, but Francis’ father, Patty recounted, would not accept charity and made the children give the coats back.
“Granddad was a nasty & dirty old man”
“Daddy was 5’2″ when he graduated from high school and the same a year later,” Patty said. “Then came World War I. He joined up,” at age 17, “and had enough to eat, growing into the six-foot father that I knew. The last three of the Haines kids grew tall, as there were fewer of them to share the food.
“Granddad was a nasty and dirty old man. His one virtue was that he esteemed education,” Patty concluded.
Plesah MacDonald Haines, who lived to 100, became widely noted later in life for her collection of Nez Perce art.
Francis Haines, initially a high school teacher among the Nez Perce after his military service, eventually became the pre-eminent historian of the introduction of horses to Native American peoples.
Ferdinand the Bull
“I lived in Ennis,” where Haines taught, “from fall 1932 to spring 1936,” Patty remembered, “not counting summers. We sometimes went to Yellowstone.”
Entering school in Ennis, Patty rapidly advanced ahead of her classmates.
“When I was in third grade, I wanted to take home the copy of The Story of Ferdinand the Bull,” by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson, then newly published and acquired by the school library. The teacher objected that it was too far below my reading level,” Patty said. “I explained that my parents had asked me bring it home so they could read it. We loved the pictures of Ferdinand sitting quietly smelling the flowers.
Cats named Dynamite & Boom
“I was always glad that I skipped a grade,” Patty added. “Among other things, it gave me three high school years in California, and only one in the inferior high school” from which she graduated in Lewiston, Idaho. “The only saving aspect there was that there was a superb chemistry teacher. I would still have been smaller than most even if I hadn’t skipped,” said Patty, whose full adult height was just five feet even, “and probably as socially inept.”
The Ennis years brought most of Patty’s experience with pets.
“Someone poisoned our cat, Dynamite,” she remembered. “Our next cat went on a camping trip with us and wandered off, never to be seen again. Her name was Boom because ‘boom’ always comes after dynamite. Thereafter we had dogs.
“Back in 1935 my dad said no more cats. He had tired of removing white cat hairs from everything when we went in the car. We bought, for $5.00, a pedigreed Scotty that looked like no other Scotty ever. She was a throwback, with short, coarse black hair.”
Haines’ life, and Patty’s, changed abruptly in 1937, after Haines authored two articles for Western Horseman magazine. These two articles directly sparked equestrian interest in preserving the Appaloosa breed, the best known and most thoroughly authenticated Native American horse breed, and indirectly inspired a 1966 Walt Disney film, for which Haines was a consultant.
The two articles were also among the first published defenses of western wild horses against the extermination campaigns which, by the passage of the 1959 “Wild Horse Annie Act,” had very nearly succeeded.
The “Wild Horse Annie Act,” which protected wild horses from hunters using motorized vehicles on public land, was later reinforced by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. The arguments for both Acts of Congress built upon Haines’ research, as well as the lobbying pressure on behalf of wild horses orchestrated by Velma Bronn Johnston (1912-1977), nicknamed “Wild Horse Annie” for her political work.
Moved to Berkeley
Before all that, the two Western Horseman articles won for Haines the opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. Haines packed up the family, including the Scotty, and moved to Berkeley, where he studied and taught on a fellowship from 1936 to 1938.
In Berkeley, Patty recalled, the Scotty “spent her time trying to run away, looking for garbage cans to raid. She would spend her days running at our smooth four-foot-high board fence until she she could get one paw over, and off she would go. My dad nailed slats at suitable intervals all the way around the fence, which thwarted that maneuver.”
Foe of fireworks
“One time when she escaped in early July, she must have been terrified of the fireworks, as forever after that she would hide under something to try to escape the noise. It cost $2 to retrieve her from the Berkeley pound, with each of us putting in our money. My allowance at that stage was a quarter a week, and from that I had to buy my own socks.”
Patty thereafter became a foe of fireworks.
“My kids never had fireworks,” she said. “At family camp, when we were there for the Fourth, we had glow sticks and turned the kids loose in the gym, where they had a wonderful, safe, much cheaper and quieter time.
“Despite two unfortunate pregnancies,” Patty noted, the Scotty “lived until 1947, by which time we lived in Lewiston, Idaho.”
Northward Spread of Horses Among the Plains Indians
Haines’ doctoral thesis, entitled The Northward Spread of Horses Among the Plains Indians, was published in book form in late 1938 by the American Anthropological Association.
Haines spent most the rest of his life tracing the origins and distribution of Appaloosa horses, both backward to their Spanish origins and forward to introductions abroad, along with researching the history of the Nez Percé and Great Plains tribes.
(See Ice age rock art find exposes nearly 200 years of horse manure.)
This was accomplished largely by interviewing elders, often with Patty at his side, as well as by tirelessly tracking down written documentation and keeping up with archaeological and paleontological findings.
Red Eagles of the Northwest
Just a year after Haines completed his Ph.D. thesis, the foundation of research that went into it also helped him to produce Red Eagles Of The Northwest: The Story Of Chief Joseph And His People, an authoritative 1939 biography of Chief Joseph (1840-1904).
This biography had quite a lot to do with making Chief Joseph, the last Nez Percé war chief, the well-known and revered figure he remains today.
Meanwhile, Patty mentioned, “My Nez Perce brother-in-law and his mother wrote the Nez Perce-English dictionary.”
After the two years in Berkeley, the Haines family spent the early World War II years in Boise, Idaho.
Boise to Lewiston
“I remember in Boise my mother scrubbed the clothes on a washboard in a big washtub in the middle of the kitchen floor. When we moved to Susanville, California, in the middle of the war, Mother was working six days a week, and Daddy scrubbed them, while I wrung them out and hung them out to dry, which took little time in that climate,” Patty said.
Having missed acquaintance with any of my father’s family, who lived in Berkeley from 1921 to 1995, Patty met my mother in Boise.
Upon high school graduation, my mother, who was a year older, earned a four-year degree with honors and a teaching credential at U.C. Berkeley, while Francis Haines took a teaching job at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.
Patty moved to Lewiston with her parents, who “always worked together” on their writing and research projects, she said.
Kenny, Keith, & Carolyn
“In the summer of 1946, when we first moved to Lewiston,” Patty narrated, “we followed the trail of the Nez Perce all the way to Miles City, not down where the highway is now, but an old dirt road up the mountainside,” which Haines wanted to take for research purposes.
An early marriage of short duration took Patty to Portland, Oregon, and left her with her first three children, Kenneth, always called Kenny, Keith, and Carolyn Woodard.
Nearly destitute, Patty took a variety of jobs over the next decade to support her family, including a milk delivery route. Patty then realized she could deliver and sell fresh bread along with the milk, and started a small commercial bakery from her kitchen.
“Patty brought her three children to Garden Home,” a Portland suburb later engulfed by Beaverton, in 1960 when she married Bill Bonney,” wrote Elaine Shreve for the Garden Home History web site in 2018. Patty’s daughter Carolyn had been Shreve’s babysitter.
Joseph William “Bill” Bonney, who died in 1976, was a longtime employee of Tektronix, a manufacturer of television components founded in Beaverton in 1946.
“When Bill’s mother died in 1926,” wrote Shreve, “he was about six years old and his father, not knowing what to do, placed him at the St. Mary’s Home for Boys in Beaverton, founded in 1889 as an orphanage for abandoned and wayward children. Bill stayed there for a year until his father came for him. Bill was scarred from his year there and was anti-religious the rest of his life.
“As was not unusual in that era, Bill’s family did not support his desire to go to high school. For his senior year he moved into a boarding house in Portland and paid his way working in the chemistry lab at Lincoln High School.”
Recalled Patty of those days, “Bill’s aunt’s husband Onie wanted to steal a neighbor’s turkeys and asked Bill to give him some chloroform,” which Bill did, not realizing what Onie intended to do with it.
“Onie put some chloroform on a rag tied to a stick and stood under the tree the turkeys were roosting in. The turkeys, being disturbed, flew off, leaving Onie well covered with their leavings. Oney hadn’t realized what birds do as they depart. Bill, of course, found it hilarious.”
Slept outside on the porch
Bill Bonney lived on two acres in an inherited stable that he had converted into a small home. The location, now half a block from a busy intersection, was then far out in the countryside.
Kenneth and Keith moved into the south end of the former hayloft, Carolyn into a small room at the north end, and in order to have a living room with room enough for Bill’s guitar and Patty’s piano, Bill and Patty put their bed on a screened and covered back porch.
The Garden Home elementary school was a mile straight north. Kenny and Keith raced all the way there and back every day.
Alan & Regina
“Kenny went on to excel in cross country distance running,” Shreve recalled, setting several Oregon state records. “He then became head cross country and track and field coach at Portland State University in the 1980s and 1990s,” Shreve wrote.
Keith also set several Oregon state records for distance running, before becoming longtime cross country and track and field coach and program director at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
A musically talented third son, Alan, was born in 1964, followed by a second daughter, Regina, in 1966. Patty then “became a faithful volunteer at Garden Home School,” Shreve mentioned.
“Patty was often seen walking to her home reading a book en route. We all knew her,” Shreve said, “with her sun or rain hat, her backpack, and a good book.
“When the Garden Home School closed in June of 1982,” Shreve continued, “many of the school library books remained in the building. Patty and a small group of other mothers began a community lending library [in the building] run by volunteers,” eventually “accepted into the Washington County Cooperative Library Services.”
Knitting was what Patty was best known for. Her dentist, Steven Little, for whom Patty was his first patient, recalled in a profile for the Southwest Portland Post that she had even knitted in the dental chair while having work done.
“Nobody in my family hunted”
A legacy that Patty was quietly proud of was that, “Nobody in my family hunted. My dad fished, bringing home trout three times a week from the Madison River in season to feed his wife and three children in the middle of the depression.”
Otherwise, Patty recounted, “I never heard any stories of hunting by anyone, and I can’t picture any of the menfolk going off to a hunting camp or doing any of the other activities” associated with hunting.
“After the older kids and I moved out here,” Patty said, “the boys took the 4-H gun safety course, and they lost all interest in shooting anything after that. Alan was never interested in guns or anything else in that line,” although Alan in a Facebook posting admitted to going fishing once with his paternal grandfather and not catching anything.
“My brother never went hunting,” Patty continued. “Bill lived back east about 16 years, mostly in New York City, a couple of years in upstate New York, two years in the Army Air Force down South. When he moved back to Oregon, he and his dad went out hunting once. Bill said that he watched a deer run past and realized that he did not want to shoot anything. I don’t know if [Bill’s father] ever went hunting after that, or even before that. I never heard about any of it.”
“Advantages of growing up during the Depression”
Advised Patty of her long life and many experiences, “One of the advantages of growing up during the Depression is not acquiring expensive tastes. A lot of things that people spend money on are things that don’t interest me. I don’t need more stuff. I don’t care for shopping. Eating out is fun with family or friends occasionally, but is not something to do on my own.
“Anyone who drinks at all has consumed more in an evening than I have in my life. My lifetime consumption is under 1/4 cup. When I think of all the fun things that I have done with the money saved from not consuming alcohol, I am glad I can’t stand it.”
“Mom was a very happy person”
“Mom went into the hospital on October 14, 2022,” emailed Regina to ANIMALS 24-7.
“She was feeling weak, and called Keith because she was unable to squeeze the lemons for a lemon pie she was making, and she wanted help.
“Keith called Ken over, and they ended up taking her to the hospital. On October 20, 2022 they sent her home. She spent two nights in her own bed and Saturday morning, her heart gave out.
“Mom was a very happy person,” Regina concluded, “and always felt that she was lucky to have had such a good life. I always thought she was dismissing all the things she’d had to contend with in life, but it was really more a matter of the way she viewed what was happening and was able to ignore the rest.”
Beth and Merritt, thank you for this intriguing story about Patty. These days I think it’s often up to individuals to directly help the animals, people, and Earth as she did. Especially when in the U.S. the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006 and ag-gag laws in many states have hindered animal advocacy organizations. Signing online petitions, bearing witness, peddling “awareness” merchandise, and other obsolete tactics have taken the teeth out of these groups. I also agree with her about the “panhandlers” from corporate animal advocacy organizations. Global corporations rule the world, with governments increasingly as an extension of that dominance. So it’s up to citizens to take action on our own, guided by our conscience and using the skills and means that we each have to be of practical help to anyone who needs it.
I appreciate much of Patty’s common sense approach to life. But going to zoos as a young boy only saddened me when I saw the miserable animals pacing in dreary concrete enclosures. I’ve seen orcas in captivity and humpback whales in the wild, once mere yards from a boat, and must say that the wild is the only place to interact with animals–should they choose to interact with me.
Patty will no doubt be greatly missed by those who knew her. It was fortunate that you all became life-long friends.
Elizabeth Clifton says
Thank you Zack! Great comment!
Annoula Wylderich says
Heartfelt condolences in the loss of your friend. She sounds like the kind of person we need more of in this world.
Zach makes a good point: the collective efforts of citizens can contribute significantly towards positive change. Patty was one such human being who left a remarkable legacy in her memory.
Jamaka Petzak says
My condolences for your loss.
I contacted one of my mom’s childhood friends, who along with my mom and her family was a great cat lover; she and I corresponded for several years until we lost touch. We have very high regard for elders in my background; I miss all of those who have gone on ahead.