A happy family is but an earlier heaven. The mountains followed their mirror twins along the Montana landscape, one cutting across the blue of the sky and the other that of Flathead Lake. The thick tree line at their base was the only demarcation. It quietly told the secret of where sediment ended and the clear waters of the lake began. God had always been a master painter, and the land of her birth was no exception. It was a sight that often made Bonnie May Ulrich’s breath catch in her throat. Breath-taking was not just a sentiment, but a truth she had lived every day since her birth on March 21, 1922. Kalispell had borne her, raised her up through mud pies and scraped knees, taught her about majesty and wonder, instilled in her pride of place and encouraged her military service, and eventually helped her heart pair its journey to that of William Ulrich. If family is one of nature’s masterpieces, then nature had perfected its artistry when their children came along. It certainly couldn’t make the clay painted landscapes of the Badlands, the gleaming peaks of the shining mountains, or the winding way of Going-to-the-Sun any better. The gifts Montana had given Bonnie, the life she had lived, the wonders she had known, were as close to perfection as anything could be. She had spent every day knowing the splendor in the grass and the glory in the flower.
On June 2, 2019, Bonnie went to spend a perpetual spring afternoon in paradise with her husband William. Her children Duwayne Ulrich, Vicki Gervais (Steve), Kay Erickson (Dean); siblings Faye Gilmore and Jean Patton (Glen); five grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews; and her spiritual family at Bethlehem Lutheran remain to remember her, to embrace this earlier heaven, and marvel in the brilliance of nature’s masterpieces. With the help of her family, Bonnie will to return to Big Sky Country and find her own Last Best Place.