• Home
  • News
  • Foundation Receives Generous Bequest from Longtime Volunteer

The Arboretum Foundation has received a very generous bequest of over $300,000 from the estate of Barbara Bonjour. One of our hardest working and most cherished volunteers, Barbara passed away in April of last year.  You can read her obituary in The Seattle Times.

A world traveller and career Boeing flight engineer, Barbara had a deep love of the Arboretum and volunteered with us for more than 20 years! As our Executive Director Jane Stonecipher said of Barbara during the Spring Forward! livestream, her dedication was such that she would use vacation days to volunteer for Arboretum Foundation events. A portion of Barbara’s gift to us ($25,000) was part of the matching pool during our very successful gala Raise-The-Paddle.

In 2019, Barbara received our Volunteer of the Year Award for her many contributions. Following are remarks that our Volunteer Resources Manager Alyssa Henry made about Barbara during the award presentation at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party in August, 2019:

“In her 22 years of service here, Barbara has taken on countless roles in leadership and behind the scenes. When faced with an issue, she charges at it without flinching until she finds the solution. I’ve lost track of the number of times she has said to me, ‘whatever you need Alyssa, I will do it, I’m here for you,’ and I can only imagine how often she would say that to the volunteer managers who came before me. Her relentless persistence is known among the longtime supporters of the Arboretum—board members come up to remind me about all of her work for the Florabundance Plant Sale. I could literally always count on her to show up and do the job well.”

Our 2017 display garden volunteers, with Barbara Bonjour (center, wearing black sleeveless jacket).

“Last fall, Barbara chose to retire from her fast-paced life working for Boeing, and instead of enjoying retirement, she jumped right in and joined our Display Garden Committee. I continued to see that fierce commitment of hers as she poured hundreds and hundreds of hours into our project—driving the team around, going to stores to find fountains or gravel, and transporting plants all across the western part of the state. The best part, she did it all with humor, a smile—and that same phrase, ‘whatever you need Alyssa, I’ll do it.’

Barbara is deeply missed but the impact of her decades of volunteer service continues. Her legacy gift will also benefit the future of Washington Park Arboretum for generations to come.

Join our Legacy Circle: The Legacy Circle honors people who have made an investment in the Arboretum Foundation by establishing a future gift through their will, trust, or other form of planned giving. Learn more.