Bonnie Suzanne Elbert (née Rueff), age 77, longtime resident of Pensacola Beach, Florida passed away June 13, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease, surrounded by her family.
Bonnie was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to George Kenneth Rueff and Mary Myrtle Rueff on February 28, 1943. Bonnie married the love of her life, James (Jim) Elbert, on April 8, 1961, and shortly after the birth of the youngest of their four children, they moved to Gulf Breeze in 1971 to raise their young family.
Bonnie always loved drawing and painting, ultimately using her talent to help her family by working in advertising, painting commissioned portraits and eventually teaching herself how to airbrush. This really came in handy when Bonnie and Jim established Pensacola Beach’s popular beach shop, Island Style, in 1992, where they worked side by side for over 20 years until they sold their successful business to their son and son-in-law, Jeff and Mario, in 2003. Bonnie continued to paint portraits, including many of her grandchildren, until the later stages of Parkinson’s no longer allowed her to hold a paintbrush.
Affectionately known as “Sheena” to her family, Bonnie was a terrific wife, mother and grandmother, fiercely loyal to those she loved. She was also a consummate entertainer, hosting holidays, birthdays and the annual, nearly week-long, celebrations of her beloved Blue Angels in July – the more the merrier was her motto. Bonnie was happiest when surrounded by her family, which held true until the very end.
Bonnie is preceded in death by her parents, George and Myrtle Rueff, and her loving husband of 56 year, Jim.
Survivors include her four children, Rebecca Collins Quina (Robert) of Gulf Breeze, FL, Robin Denise Dorf (Mathas) of Pensacola Beach, FL, Jeffrey Scott Elbert (Mario) of Navarre, FL and Amy Colleen Welz (Gregory) of Orange Park, FL; her sister Nina Ann Williams of Greensboro, NC and her brother George Kenneth Rueff Jr. (Barbara), of Quitman, AR; seven grandchildren, Michael Everett Fenner (Joanne) of Key West, FL, Christopher James Beck of Orange Park, FL, Samuel Douglas Beck (Tracy) of Jarrell, TX, SSGT Josey Rayne Collins, US Air Force, Goldsboro, NC, SGT Jonathan Henry Dorf, US Army (Samantha) of Fayetteville, NC, Kevin Scott Dorf of Pensacola Beach, FL, and Kristyl Maddison Welz of Orange Park, FL; and seven great grandchildren.
There are so many extended/adopted family, it would be impossible to name them all, and Bonnie loved and adored each and every one of them. However, the family would like to thank Bonnie Sue’s BFF of 75 years, Sharon Ann Traud of Alachua, FL, whose friendship and smiling face always brought sunshine and laughter into Bonnie’s life.
Finally, the family would like to thank Bonnie’s assistants, Deborah Ware and Heather Cato, for helping the family take care of her the past two years. It definitely took a team and, with Robin taking the lead, this team was fantastic! Thank you!
Honoring Bonnie’s wishes, the family will not hold a public service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
You may offer condolences, share memories and sign the guestbook at www.roselawn-fh.com.
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