Bonnie May Brace

November 6, 1955 ~ November 22, 2019 (age 64)


For those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Bonnie Brace for more than fifteen minutes… You may know the unique way she had of approaching any issue, any problem, any difficulty and almost… any diagnosis. There was a certain determination… a strength… coming from deeply planted Scots roots… to bring to any given moment that best thing - that needful thing;  whether it was a touch or a word or a scolding… usually with a smile and a nod.

If it was kindness… then it was that in abundance. If it was fierceness of will for her daughters or herself, then stand aside… If it was reaching out and tapping someone - in Boston - on the shoulder to get something done… well, that was fine too.

If you knew Bonnie for fifteen minutes, you now know that a shining light has run out its course… the oil is lost from the vessel & the wick is dry. That unique light has been called away to a better glory.

On Thursday we’d already had our meeting with her support staff, the PCA’s and hospice. She had fought all the way through doctors and bureaucracies, talked and called and pushed on whomever she could. We had hoped to get one more test done to get a second opinion on a possible cancer diagnosis. It became clear that the health care system had made their own overarching diagnosis, and that further work for her was unavailable.  

But everyone around her was available: her family, her support staff, hospice… everyone had the time, everyone had the ability to do what was needed. Everyone was willing. Never was there a decision that was more important for her or in this case… easier to make.

Once it was decided, she put her all to the task… try to get some final things done… “Where’s my other computer… the white one”, so we could get the music list for a future day.  Her medications were adjusted to make pain suppression the primary goal. Family and friends were contacted.

I asked her at one point, “What would you like?” seeing if she needed something. “I’d like to be on the beach,” she said. “…basking in the sun.”

“With a mai tai?” I asked.  She smiled.

I shared an idea with Kari and others. Bonnie couldn’t travel to the beach, so we decided to bring the beach to her room. Tiffany surprised me, when she showed me a photo of a wall poster with the ocean and palm trees on a sandy beach. She also had two small blow up palm trees, all of which she had used at her office for a friend. By Friday morning we were putting up “our island theme”. Bonnie loved it.

Many of us were surprised how quickly things progressed later that afternoon. My sense is, that once Bonnie had put her mind to the task, getting to heaven was all there was for her.

At one point, late in the afternoon, she woke up and talked to us. As we asked how she was feeling, she waved her hand nonchalantly and said, (and I kid you not) – “This dying thing is easy-peasy.” I’m pretty sure the meds helped in that regard, but suffice to say, she had a knowledge, even if only from this life, of her destination.

During that afternoon I had texted a close friend of ours, a former minister, telling him the details, keeping him in the loop. That evening, as we sat around the living room, talking… Tiffany was holding Bonnie’s hand, monitoring her pulse… my friend sent a little ditty he’d picked in his many travels… so I decided I’d read it aloud…

“Death, for the believer, is kind of like falling asleep on the living room couch and waking up in your own bed in the morning.  This is the type of experience that happened to us when we were kids.

“Someone did the picking up and carrying in the night to our bedroom to make it happen like that.”

A few minutes later, one of the aides asked me to read it again.

“Death, for the believer, is kind of like falling asleep on the living room couch and waking up in your own bed in the morning.  This is the type of experience that happened to us when we were kids.

“Someone did the picking up and carrying in the night to our bedroom to make it happen like that.”

As I finished reading, I turned to text my friend and someone called out, “She’s stopped breathing.” Tiffany responded, “Her heart has stopped.”  Easy-peasy.

Bonnie Brace slipped off her body like an old sock and put on her New Body, that Eternal Raiment and made her way through family and friends and relatives beyond knowledge… to find the Light of Heaven… the Throne of God in their midst.

Fare Thee Well, Good Friend.


Bonnie M. Brace

 11/06/1955 – 11/22/2019

Bonnie May Brace, 64, of Pittsfield, MA entered eternity peacefully in her home, with family and friends at her side, on Friday evening. Bonnie was a member of First Church of Christ in Pittsfield for many years.

She was born in Haverhill MA to Charles Edward Cary and Betty (Shaw) Cary, who shortly after moved to Berwick, Maine, where Bonnie grew up and graduated from Noble High School.

She pursued her education later in life, earning an Associates in Arts from Berkshire Community College in 1997. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts from MCLA in 1999 and completed her Master’s of Social Work from Springfield College in 2002. After graduating she was hired as the Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Western Massachusetts.

She is survived by her brother Michael Cary and wife, Wanda (Baird) Cary, nephews Michael Jr., Jason, Travis, & David Cary, daughters, Kari M. Brace; Alba Huex & husband Rigo Botzoc, granddaughter Alondra Botzon Huex; daughter Teodora Nedialkova & husband, James Fiorile, grandchildren Lucia & Antonio Fiorile; daughter Cecilia Del Cid-Liccardi and husband, Shawn Liccardi and by her former husband, Jeffrey Brace.

Memorial at First Church of Christ, Congregational, Pittsfield on December 8, 2019. Reception at 1pm, followed by a Memorial Service at 2pm. Gathering of friends and family to follow. Gifts in lieu of flowers can be sent to UCP of Western Massachusetts.

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