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BY MOLLY HAINES
N-H Staff Writer
Some may remember her as a school bus driver, others as an Owen County School District cafeteria worker, or cheering on Owen County’s many sports -- but this year everyone will know Bonnie Fitzgerald as Owen County Mother of the Year.
Fitzgerald received the honor July 18 at the Owen County 4-H Fair and Horse Show.
The award came as a surprise to Fitzgerald, who said she almost didn’t make it to the fair that night.
“I had no clue I was getting it,” Fitzgerald said. “I never was so shocked in my life. We were going out to the fair to watch my niece’s daughter in the beauty pageant, but the storm that night had blown the steeple off our church and I wanted to go help at the church, but my husband said, ‘No, we’re already on the way and we’re going to watch Cheyenne (Gaines)’.”
Fitzgerald was born July 26, 1943, to Porter and Christine Osborne and was the eldest of seven children. She married in June of 1963.
She had her first child, a girl, at the age of 20. Two more girls followed and then three boys.
When all of her children but the youngest, Johnnie, were in school she began driving a school bus for Owen County School District and later took on a second job in the Owen County Elementary School cafeteria and then in the Maurice Bowling Middle School cafeteria.
Fitzgerald said she thinks having so many kids of her own helped her enjoy her job in the school system.
“I had so many kids I just enjoyed working with them,” Fitzgerald said. “It was a good job. I was able to be with my kids when they were home.”
According to her daughter Kim Duvall, Fitzgerald also drove a school bus to sporting events and became a favorite among Owen County athletes.
“I would love to know how many uniforms she has washed over the years,” Duvall said. “... I have seen her many times take money out of her own pocket to pay for a child’s meal at an away game when the child didn’t have any money. Those children have never forgotten that.”
Fitzgerald said she has never regretted having a large family.
“I never had a problem with any of my children,” Fitzgerald said. “They’ve all been great and good to me. I enjoy having kids, from the youngest to the oldest.”
When ask what her favorite thing about having nine grandkids is, Fitzgerald laughed and said, “When they go home.”
“No, really -- you love your children to death, but there’s a difference with grandkids. They’re just precious.”
For the full nominating letter, submitted by Duvall, see page 3.