BONNIE RAKELL ERICKSON TITENSOR OBITUARY
Bonnie RaKell Erickson was born on June 4th,1934 in Montpelier, ID to Orson Peter
Erickson and Rachel LaVon Turner Erickson. She is the second of 3 daughters. There
seemed to be an ongoing argument with her sisters as to who was the baby, had shirts
made each claiming to be the baby.
RaKell married her high school sweetheart of 2 years, ElRay Titensor on Sept. 19th
1952 at the age of 18. They were sealed in the Logan Temple of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints,To this marriage 5 children were born, Kelly Ray, Randall, Tracy Ellen, Todd and Karen,
you’ll note that the favorites have middle names. At the age of 1 year, mom and her older sister Dena were sealed to their parents in the
Logan LDS Temple on June 20th,1935.
Mom grew up in Afton WY, most of her childhood living in the home her parents bought
across from the Afton football field. During her childhood she would help her parents in
the dairy they built in Afton, The Erickson Dairy. They were the first to deliver
pasteurized milk in Afton door to door for .15c a quart.
Mom was athletic, she loved to play softball and volleyball on various women’s leagues,
sometimes on her older sister Dena’s team. She was always glad to be on Dena’s team
and not against her. She loved spending time with her sisters and the neighbor kids
playing night games, walking up to Star Mtn and sitting on the STAR of all mountains.
Mom loved to swim at the Auburn sulfur pools, she said “my how we stunk, but loved it”.
Mom graduated from Star Valley High School May 1952, she was a member of the Pep
Stars Club. She never attended college, but she taught herself many talents that she
took thru life. She was an eager learner, taking any sort of class she could find to better
herself such as typing, sewing and painting.
As a young married, mom held many church assignments, her passion was genealogy.
She spent hours doing the work of her ancestors, completing binders for each. We are
confident they are all so grateful for this work she was able to do for them and thanked
her profoundly when she arrived in heaven. She had carried on this tradition from her
mother and had ancestry on one line back to 1066 A.D.
Mom was an avid knitter, loved making afghans, slippers, hats and mittens for us kids
and then the grandkids, there isn’t a grandchild that didn’t wear a pair of her slippers.
She learned how to crochet and loved making dish clothes and hot pads, many are still
holding up today, she loved to make and give them away, just because. She always
kept a deck of cards (or several) under the kitchen table and would play a mean hand of
solitaire or other card games with friends or with dad.
She loved puzzles, she always had one started of at least 1,000 pieces or greater, she
says “it takes me about two days to complete”, her later years the piece count got
smaller and pieces sizes got much larger
She loved to play the piano, mostly self-taught, her parents could only afford to send her
sister Dena to piano lessons. She tinkered with the violin, accordion and harpsichord.
She loved to listen to dueling banjos, the grandkids playing guitars, banjos, violins and
piano. In her later years she learned how to play the famous CANJO.
Mom worked for the Polaris dealership in Afton until it closed down. She then went to
work for Lower Valley Power and Light at the Afton main street location. From there she
was hired as a secretary at Star Valley High School and worked for five different
principals, Ivan L. Call, Dr. Allen Lowe, Larry Jensen, Nord Wilkes, and Kirk Brower until
her retirement in in 1997.
Mom and dad bought the Osmond ranch house in 1953 from her dad, paying them $90
a month for 160 acres. Together they worked to remodel the farmhouse to
accommodate a growing family. They raised hay, grain and award-winning pigs often
selling to other breeders and wanna-be-breeders to get them started. As a family we
traveled to area county fairs to show the pigs, mom was our biggest fan. We took pigs
to the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA, state fairs in Idaho and Montana, mom was
always the first to cheer us on.
Mom would come out and help us kids change pipe, mow lawns, and we tried to garden
a few different times. We never really mastered that on the same level as our neighbors
it seemed, so us kids would raid their gardens instead.
They purchased the HiWay Market in Afton from Von and Hilda Titensor in 1975. Some
of us kids had the privilege of working with mom and dad learning the proper way to
dust cans, organize and restock shelves, package lettuce, tomatoes, and sweep and
mop floors. Mom continued to work at the school during this time, coming to the store at
night to realign all the mishaps from the day.
They sold the store to her sister and husband Gary and Saundra Wright in June 1977.
During that summer they enjoyed camping and fixing up the ranch house. After this
short hiatus they purchased the Star Valley Independent, the local weekly newspaper
from Lee & Jesse Call in the spring of 1978. Mom continued at the high school and
would come down at night to help set type and anything else to get the paper out on
time. They operated the newspaper until 1985.
In 1987 they repurchased the HiWay Market, apparently once wasn’t enough, they
operated it until 1990.
After retirement mom and dad spent time in Casa Grande, AZ, with her sister Saundra
and husband Gary Wright, dad’s sister Luana and husband Larry Kennington. Mom took
up golfing when they purchased the home on the Afton golf course. She loved to play
golf, winning a couple of Hole in One awards in Casa Grande. During their time there
they enjoyed 4 wheeling with family and friends, swimming aerobics and other art and
craft events at the clubhouse. She thanks her sister Saundra for talking them in to going
south and “enjoying life at its best.”.
Mom and dad were able to serve four missions, one in Atlanta GA, from 1993 to 1994
and to Martin’s Cove twice, 1997-1999 and with the Farm Management Co. for the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Martin’s Cove until 2012. They loved
the people from all walks of life, loved meeting new and reconnecting with old friends.
She cherished the time with families traveling to Martin’s Cove, she loved to share the
gospel with all who visited.
Mom loved to camp, snowmobile and travel, mostly with family and the close friends
she held close to her heart, she said “being with friends and having their friendships is
always important at any age”.
Mom and dad loved to travel together; attending graduations, weddings, baptisms,
sporting or other events for their kids and grandkids. They tried to hit them all no matter
the distance. She enjoyed visiting areas of the United States including Alaska, Hawaii,
visiting other countries of Mexico, Jamaica, England and Ireland.
Her most important value is her religion. She said of her anticipated life changes; it
would be her heavenly father and mother, there will be so much to learn and do when in
heaven. Meeting all my family and friends who I haven’t seen in years will be a joy. Best
yet will be meeting my Lord and Savior, who loves me.
Our family celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with all their children and
grandchildren with a trip to Lake Shasta, CA on a house boat for a few days.
In 2002 we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. This was enjoyed with her all her
children in Park City UT. We surprised them with a hot air balloon ride, which we think
they enjoyed, they didn’t complain. Mom and dad celebrated their 80th
birthdays in 2014 all of their children and most of the grandchildren in attendance for this joyous occasion.
Mom is survived by her children Kelly Ray (Diane), Randall, Tracy Ellen (Thad) Brown,
Todd (Kathleen), Karen (Rob) Ellis. 22 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren , 2 great-
great grandchildren, 2 sisters, Dena Hale and Saundra (Gary) Wright.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband and one grandson
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