Bonnie Sahadi Werner       Inducted 2017 - Class of 1966

Bonnie lived with her parents in Point Place which has always been a beautiful community with sunrise and sunset views of the Ottawa and Maumee Rivers as they flowed into Lake Erie. Following Bonnie through Kleis Elementary, Point Place Junior High, and on to Woodward High School, was her next-door neighbor and best friend, Susan Collingwood.

Bonnie was always a model student at Woodward. She was almost always focused on her studies and music, and was never afraid of hard work. However, there were several occasions in which Bonnie's mischievous intellect foreshadowed the future. In her own words: "One evening, there was a program for the parents of the students of Woodward's speech class. I was to recite from memory a multi-stanza poem. When I saw so many eyes riveted on me, I panicked, and began to recite the poem as though it were slap-stick. It was absolutely hysterical. The more ridiculous my rendition, the more the audience laughed. When my parents were driving me home, I remembered sitting in the backseat, wondering . . . . "Who is this young woman who is so devoted to classical

music and to great literature, who is also capable of stand-up comedy?" And then there was the time during Latin Club Week when I purchased a student who had to do everything I demanded for an entire week . . .  . . .On the final day, I asked her to stand on the teacher's desk and sing in loud clear tones, Happy Birthday, Mr. Duvendack."

During Bonnie's four years at Woodward she recalls that the entire faculty was extremely competent, and insistent that every student excel to the best of his or her ability. Continuing, Bonnie maintained that no one teacher stood out as superior, but they all impressed her with their dedication to the students. Woodward somewhat tainted her college experience, where I quickly learned that not all professors held to the high standard which the faculty of Woodward strived. However, there is one Woodward teacher that Bonnie has indirectly recognized for her excellence and her impact on Bonnie's writing. Bonnie's nom de plume Sarah L. Seymour Winfield was chosen to honor Ms. Sarah Feldstein, one of Woodward's eminent English teachers.

Bonnie received a four-year scholarship to the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music in 1966, where she met and, years later, married her music theory teacher, James Ritter Werner in 1972. Bonnie was married for 43 years, raising four children and seven grandchildren, before her companion in life's journey succumbed to leukemia. Bonnie has always given back to her community by counseling recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. Bonnie's skills in this area, for which she never trained, were in such high demand that many asked for her by name.

Bonnie's first book, Images Old and New: The Judeo/Christian Mystical Tradition, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her second book One Little Life: A White Child and a Black Women Struggle against Racism, won Grand Prize for non-fiction. Pandemic of Opportunism: America's Misuse of Medical Litigation, Bonnie's third book describes the adversity she faced and how she overcame it. Pandemic and her fourth book currently being written about PTSD, are both rooted in her husband's death in 2014.

Bonnie did mention that everyone at Woodward called her Bonnie, except for Mr. Henahan, who called her Loren. Ask her why.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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