The North Bend Eagle


 

Wennekamp dishes last little meal

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 3/25/15

Bonnie Wennekamp turned 80 on March 16. Half of those years she has been cooking for little people, first at District 93, and for the last 16.5 years at Romper Room day care.

Husband John said, “Eighty is old enough,” and encouraged her to retire. Friday, March 13, was her last day.

Bonnie Wennekamp
Wennekamp

Wennekamp, a native of Avoca, attended business college in Omaha and worked there before marrying John in 1959. The couple lived near his hometown of Craig until moving to the North Bend area in 1968. They purchased a farm north of North Bend in 1977, where they still live.

In 1973 Wennekamp started working at District 93 helping Gladys Kocour. In 1974 she was on her own, staying there for 23 years. One aspect of the job stands out above others.

“The kids,” she said. “The kids were great. Polite, thanked me for the meals. They were always good kids.”

She also complimented the teachers and staff.

“No matter when we changed staff, they were always nice people.”

When Karen Roubal and Jeanne Fredrickson were opening Romper Room in 1998, they asked Wennekamp to come and cook for the children.

The children were smaller, but just as special.

“So many days when I’d go to work, they’d come up and give me hugs when I came in the door.”

What will Wennekamp do now?

“I have a lot of things to do here at home,” she said.

Bonnie and John hope to travel some. Their son David lives in Merrimac, Mass., and Mike lives in Rogers.

A retirement party was held for Wennekamp Friday at Leroy’s Steakhouse with her sons, family, friends and former co-workers surprising her.

She has no regrets.

“I always said the best job anyone could have would be to work with kids,” Wennekamp said. “It’s not work. It’s very enjoyable.”

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