Bonnie June Tritt Kelson, 91, formerly of Boundary County, passed away peacefully in her sleep July 15, 2023, beside her faithful husband of 73 years, Phillip Charles Kelson, in Tualatin, Oregon. She was laid to rest at the Sunset Mausoleum in Portland, Oregon.
Bonnie was born in Bonners Ferry November 6, 1931, to Verlin and Orah White Tritt. Bonnie’s parents and three older brothers; Hollis, Ellis and Roy, preceded her in death. Younger sister Lois Litalien resides in Bonners Ferry.
Her parents moved to Eastport 1934 where Dad was a section foreman on the Spokane International Railroad, now the Union Pacific. The railroad furnished a home for the family where they had a couple cows and chickens and sold milk that Bonnie delivered on her bicycle to neighbors. She and her brothers attended the one room school through the eighth grade, then had to board with a family in town to attend Bonners Ferry High School. She was chosen to be a cheerleader and she met Phil, a basketball star for the mighty Badgers, and they became high school sweethearts!
Shortly after the start of her senior year they eloped to the Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene and were married September 17, 1949.
Phil was in the lumber business for many years, starting with Kelson Lumber Company sawmill and planer owned by his father in Bonners Ferry. Later Phil and Bonnie owned Kelson Appliance with Francis Winey as their TV and appliance repairman then later sold the business to Francis. Upon the sale he returned to the lumber business, moving to Kinzua, Oregon, as assistant manager for Kinzua Lumber Corp., Kinzua being one of the last three company towns left in the United States.
Later they moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where they owned their own lumber business until they retired.
While raising their family in Bonners Ferry, they built a cabin with other family owned cabins on the shores of Kootenay Lake in British Columbia. Many fun years of fishing, swimming, water-skiing were enjoyed with their family, siblings and families on the lake. Retiring in Oregon afforded them to be nearer to the Pacific Ocean, and they purchased a beach home in Lincoln City and later a home in Kona, Hawaii. They loved walking the beaches searching for shells, agates, sea glass and watching the evening sunsets.
Bonnie and Phil were always together, wherever one went the other followed until her passing. They both were avid fans of the Portland Trail Blazers, especially Bonnie, and never missed a TV game. She followed Dr. Phil and was most often seen watching game shows.
Family was most important in her life … never missing any family birthdays by calling and singing the “Happy Birthday” song. Bonnie loved attending Sunday mass, celebrating the holidays with her children and grand-children and she was always present to support them in their events. She was an avid water-skier, enjoyed a blistering game of pinochle and rarely passed a casino in her path!
Bonnie will be most remembered for her photo taking and she was teased endlessly, though we do treasure the many moments she captured and has shared with our family.
They were blessed with three children; son Larry, Bellevue, Washington, daughter Linda Neumayer (Tony), Lolo, Montana, and Debbie Rosendahl (Brent),Tualatin, Oregon.
Grandchildren surviving are Jenny, Erin, Mandy, Joe, Nadia, Adam, Jeremy, Sarah, Kelly, Nicole, and Grant, 14 great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild and several nieces and nephews that dearly loved their Aunt Bonnie.