Bonnie Petrafeso

Obituary of Bonnie Lee Petrafeso


October 12, 1935 – October 5, 2023 

(written by sister, Marilyn Cox) 


On October 5, just one week short of her 88th birthday, Bonnie Lee (Lashley) Petrafeso left this life to seek eternal rest. The sixth of seven girls born to Raymond Edgar and Lela Etta (Ensign) Lashley, Bonnie was born at the Lashley home on Ash Mesa near Olathe, Colorado on October 12, 1935. 

Growing up on the family farm she was surrounded by sisters, their families, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends and pets. She attended the little two-room country school of Highland for five years, then Olathe Elementary, graduating from Olathe High School in 1953. She felt very ready to venture out on her own, secured a job in Grand Junction and moved there with a cousin and friend. 

She always loved music, dancing and acting. In her own words, “I ignored the should haves, could haves and things not relevant that would keep me from experiencing this blessed life.”  

Still a teenager, she traveled to California with her cousin to experience the beauty of Catalina Island and walked the sandy beach, among other exciting things; a great start for her love of travel and adventure. 

In Grand Junction she met Frank Petrafeso who became her husband on April 2, 1955. They started their family and lived there for ten years before Frank was transferred to Denver with the US Geological Survey in 1965. Their family consisted of five daughters and one son before the marriage sadly ended in divorce. 

Church was always an important part of Bonnie’s life, starting with the First Baptist Church in Olathe where she attended with sisters and family members. Each time the family relocated, Bonnie promptly found a church home nearby making many wonderful, long-time friends. She offered a special thank you to her church family by saying, “God has guided me and brought me through. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life.” 

Bonnie felt that her main and most important occupation was that of being Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, along with a range of other jobs over the years. Being a true “people person,” she enjoyed working for Market Research Company, interviewing people in a variety of situations. She was dedicated in sending greeting cards to those she knew and loved, rarely missing any occasion. She also was an avid letter writer, sometimes writing in poetry. All special occasions were celebrated with family get-togethers and parties. 

She never seemed short on advice, especially for her beloved grandchildren, especially if they were facing crisis of any kind. She had kind words, lots of hugs and made it clear her door was always open. 

Bonnie was a good cook. Her kids loved her spaghetti and her peanut brittle was unsurpassed. Although she might not feel well physically, she pushed herself to make the peanut brittle every Christmas season because she knew how much others loved it! 

Bonnie was a bargain hunter—a true expert! She knew just where to go to get a deal! She was also a great photographer, be it scenery, animals, kids or flowers. She documented a lot of history! Other favorite hobbies included crafts, decoupage and digging for antique bottles in order to make colorful bottle trees. She loved dressing up in costume, especially at Halloween, but also for skits—the sillier, the better. 

Travel was one of her huge loves! She and her sister Geraldine were quite a pair and took off on “Big Red” (the bus) as often as possible. They visited relatives in Ohio, California, Florida, Texas, New Mexico; went to races at Daytona; explored Juarez and other parts of Mexico. She enjoyed live concerts, actually getting to see Elvis Presley himself, several Elvis impersonators, Heritage Square performers, Johnny Cash and many other country western stars. It didn’t take much to get her up and swinging! 

Bonnie is survived by her daughters Vickie Petrafeso, Golden, Colorado; Karen Petrafeso, Westminster, CO; Karla Petrafeso, Kathy Petrafeso, and Maureen (Ole) Olson, all of Lakewood, Colorado and one son, Mike Petrafeso, Lakewood; one sister, Marilyn Cox, Montrose, CO; grandchildren: Jessica Cinnamon; Brandon (Mayra) Petrafeso, Justin Petrafeso, Shelly Shellhorn, Kalon Shellhorn, Eli (Lauren Elizabeth) Gilliland, Sarah Gilliland, Brodi Olson, Gage Olson; Great-grandchildren: Carson and Mae Gilliland, Camila Petrafeso, Preston and Juliette. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and countless “greats.” 

In addition to her parents, Bonnie was predeceased by five sisters: Helen Burch, Olathe, CO; Hazel Hare, Las Cruces, NM; Arla Schmalz, Delta, CO; Geraldine Ray, Delta, CO; and Edra Moore, Lancaster, CA; two sons-in-law, Gil Gilliland, Lakewood, CO and Jim Shellhorn, Westminster; former daughter-in-law, April Petrafeso, Lakewood. 

Services, under the direction of Aspen Mortuary, will begin with the burial at Golden Cemetery (755 Ulysses Street, Golden) at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17. A church service will follow at 2:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Vineyard Church, 6800 West Hampden Avenue, Lakewood. Following a service led by Reverend Christian Summers, a reception will follow in the church basement.

Since Bonnie was such a keeper of “Thoughts to Ponder,” please take this one with you in her memory. It was sent to her by her late brother-in-law, Q. A. Hare, Las Cruces, NM: 


He does not lead me year by year 

Nor even day by day; 

But Step by Step my path unfolds 

My Lord directs my way. 

Tomorrow’s plans I do not know, 

I only know this minute; 

But He will say “This is the Way, 

By faith now walk ye in it.” 

And I am glad that it is so; 

Today’s enough to bear— 

And when tomorrow comes, His grace 

Shall far exceed its care. 

What need to worry then, or fret? 

The God who gave His Son 

Holds all my moments in His hand 

And gives them one by one. 

Barbara C. Ryberg 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bonnie Petrafeso, please visit Tribute Store


1:00 pm
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Golden Cemetery
755 Ulysses Street
Golden, Colorado, United States


2:00 pm
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Lakewood Vineyard Church
6800 West Hampden Avenue
Lakewood, Colorado, United States
with reception to follow
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