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Julie Sue Bontrager

October 29, 1949 January 5, 2019
Julie Sue Bontrager
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Obituary for Julie Sue Bontrager

Julie Sue Bontrager, devoted and loving wife, mother of two, and grandmother of three passed away on Saturday, January 5th at 8:20 AM in Alpharetta, Georgia at the age of 69. Julie was born on October 29th, 1949 in Sibley, Iowa. She attended Zeelend High School in Michigan and married Levi B. Bontrager on September 16th, 1969 in Allendale, Michigan.
Julie operated a fabric store as a private business owner for several years before beginning a 27-year career in the field of education. She began work for White Pigeon Elementary as a paraprofessional and attended Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Michigan where she earned an Associate degree in General Studies in 2002 and in Childhood Education in 2003. She was awarded a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Special Education from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2006. She then worked at Three Rivers Middle School as a Special Education Teacher. She completed a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan in 2008 and then completed a Master in the Art of Teaching degree from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan in 2009. This degree conferred to her highly qualified status as a Michigan special education teacher. In 2010 the Parent Advisory Committee of St. Joseph County awarded her the distinction as Special Education Teacher of the Year. Later that year she began her work at Colon Elementary as a Special Education Teacher. She retired from her position at Colon Elementary in 2017.
Julie also served on the Board of Directors as Chairmen of the Very Special Arts of Michigan in St. Joseph County, an organization that promotes arts, education, and creative expression among children and adults with disabilities. Part of her work included organizing hands-on workshops in visual arts, music, dance, and drama for children with special needs in grades 1 - 6 through the annual Special Arts Festival. She enjoyed making art—especially watercolors and she used her artwork to build community bridges within Southwest Michigan and across the Pacific Ocean. Her work was selected in various competitions including the “Art for the Heart” fundraiser for Diane’s Way Expressive Arts Program of Borgess Visiting Nurse and Hospice. She led her students to make 1,000 paper cranes that they sent to Hiroshima, Japan to adorn the Children’s Peace Memorial there. She loved spending time with friends and family, she enjoyed basket weaving, quilting, and especially spending time baking cookies, banana bread, and pumpkin pie with her grandchildren.
Julie was preceded in death by her mother, Johanna (Ytsema), and her father Wiebe (Willie) Kroontje. She is survived by her husband of 49 years Levi, her sisters Vonnie Rosentstein and Debi Kroontje-Stark, her brother Wallie Kroontje, her daughter Heatherly, her son Shannon, and her grandchildren Mairi, Adam, and Ronan.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday January 19th at 11:00 AM at the Rosenberg Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 807 E. Chicago Rd., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-3284. Interment will be at Nottawa Cemetery on Filmore Rd. in Nottawa, Michigan followed by a meal at the Locust Grove Mennonite Church on Findley Rd in Burr Oak, Michigan.
In lieu of flowers, please bring backpacks full of books for children to be donated to Colon and Leonidas Elementary schools and to honor Julie’s passion for children and learning. Alternatively a donation can be made to the Julie S. Bontrager Memorial Friendship Bench for children to go to when they want someone to talk to at https://www.gofundme.com/julie-s-bontrager-memorial-friendship-bench&rcid=r01-154708512923-ca3413bc0b7c4daa&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w


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Upcoming Events

memorial service

Saturday

19

Jan

11:00 AM 1/19/2019 11:00:00 AM
Rosenberg Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes

807 E. Chicago Rd
Sturgis, MI 49091

Rosenberg Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes
807 E. Chicago Rd Sturgis 49091 MI
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Nottawa Cemetery Final Resting Place
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