IN MEMORIAM: Bonnie Farmer, 86; Wife of Pastor Mel Farmer


Bonnie Jo Farmer, 86;

Pastor Mel Farmer’s Wife

Bonnie Farmer

WEST DAVENPORT – Bonnie Jo Farmer, 86, the wife of Pastor Mel Farmer and the former Sunday school superintendent at River Street Baptist Church,  passed away peacefully while surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, May 25, 2019, at  Fox Nursing Home.

Bonnie was born on February 10, 1933 in Evansville, Indiana, a daughter of the late Genevieve Runau. It was there that she met the love of her life, Melvin Farmer. They were married in Evansville and have celebrated 64 years together.

In the early 1960s, the Farmers moved to Upstate New York. After living in several local communities through the years, they settled in West Davenport.

She found fulfillment working as a waitress at the Woolworth’s store in Oneonta. Later on, Bonnie and Mel opened their own restaurant in the Southside Mall in Oneonta, naming it Bonnie’s Restaurant. In addition to running the business she also waited tables there, enjoying the customers that came in. Following the closure of Bonnie’s, they opened Mel’s Snack Island in the mall, serving various snacks and “quick meals”.

Bonnie was a very influential person and a fixture at the River Street Baptist Church, serving as the Sunday School Superintendent and was Rev. Mel’s “right hand”, taking care of all of the day to day business duties. She was also a member of the choir. Bonnie also enjoyed helping Mel with his Gospel Hymn Request Time radio show through the years.

In her personal time, Bonnie loved to sew. She made many of her children’s clothes and clothes for their dolls and later made clothes for her grandchildren. Bonnie was also quite the artist and had a particular talent for drawing. Above all, she had a great love for her family and treasured all the time she spent with them.

Her family will always remember Bonnie as a very special person with a huge heart. She never met a stranger and was a friend to anyone who ever needed one.

She is survived by her loving husband, the Rev. Mel Farmer; her children, Jennifer (Timothy) Peet of Texas, Melody (Bill Leonhardt) Farmer of West Davenport, Lisa (Daniel) Wenck of Fly Creek and Paul (Lisa) Farmer of New Hartford; her 8 grandchildren, Kimberly, Rebecca, Natalie (Tim), Amanda (Dan), Christopher (Krystal), Colin (Michelle), Noah and Joshua and her 12 great grandchildren.

Friends and family may call from 10 a.m. – noon on Wednesday, May 29, at the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main Street, Oneonta. Funeral services will follow at Noon at the funeral home, with the Rev. Judith Thistle, officiating. A private family interment will take place after the funeral.

Flowers are welcome, however, if you would like to make a charitable donations in memory of Bonnie, her family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or visit their website:

Bonnie’s family would like to thank the staff of the A.O. Fox Nursing Home for their kind and compassionate care given to Bonnie during her stay, and a special thank you to her caregivers, Teddi Barber and Carol Thayer.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Bookhout Funeral Home.

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