In Memoriam: Former Rumsonite, Bacteriologist, Volunteer, Bonney Reger, 91

Former longtime Rumsonite, bacteriologist and avid volunteer, Bonney Varney Reger, more recently of Tinton Falls, passed away in her sleep on Jan. 21. She was 91.

“A desire to live on the ocean and be ‘on vacation every day’ brought her to Rumson, where Bonney became president of the local Newcomers Club, president of The Little Silver Garden Club, a founding member of the Friends of Monmouth Museum, and a communicant of Holy Cross Church. Downsizing took her to Oceanport, and then ultimately to Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls. At Seabrook, Bonney made many dear friends where she was a founding member of the LGBT organization. While a world traveler from a young age, it was at age 70 when she asked her friends, ‘Do you think I am too old to become an avid world traveler?’ The answer was a resounding NO and off she went, for the next 20 years, sometimes making three trips abroad per year. She had no issues with trying to sleep upright in a coach seat if it would take her to a new location and culture. A wall-sized world map hung in her home with pins marking all the places in the world she had visited. There are over 100 pins. Reaching each of the seven continents was crossed off her bucket list early on. She would fly around the U.S. several times each year, visiting all her children and their families. She knew everyone’s birthday and anniversary and remembered minute details about each individual person. She was as sharp as a tack and as energetic as could be until the end. She loved deeply and was deeply loved. She will be missed by all.”

Loved ones of Bonney Reger in her obituary

More about Bonney …

The youngest of two children, Bonney was raised in Broken Bow, Nebraska during the Depression. The daughter of the town banker and an Army captain, she loved to ride horses and read.

Being a youngster thirsty for knowledge, she headed off to Emma Willard prep school in Troy, NY for high school. College called her to the opposite coast, Mills College in Oakland, CA.

Living on the coast brought all sorts of new adventures but transportation before the war was difficult over long distances so she finished up her BS degree at the University of Nebraska, graduating with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi (science honor) and as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Bonney double-majored in Chemistry and Biology. “Go Big Red!”

Bonney’s first job was working as a bacteriologist at Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) in Detroit, MI. While it was unusual at the time for women to pursue advanced degrees, her love of learning drew her to the University of Michigan to earn a master of science degree in Bacteriology. It was then that she met her husband-to-be, Paul Reger. They married after she graduated, and lived in Grosse Pointe Park and then Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, raising a family of five children over the next 25 years.

Bonney is survived by: her five children and their spouses, Priscilla Watts and Terry Hoeft, of Milford, MI, Jeff and Dena Reger, of Shrewsbury, Gretchen Dobie, of Winnetka, IL, Jamie and Chris Vukelich, of Scottsdale, AZ, and Drew and Gina Reger, of Wrightsville Beach, NC; her grandchildren, Jonathon, Chris, Brandon, Jamie, Ryan, Danny, J.D., Will, Will, Nick, Alec, Lee, Elizabeth, Daniel, Andrew, and Jack; and her 11 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please take a trip somewhere and make a toast to Bonney or donate to Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ or The Center in Asbury Park, NJ. A memorial mass will be held at Seabrook Village, Tinton Falls, at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

— Edited obituary prepared by family via Thompson Memorial Home