SHARING LANGUAGE – Coho clan leader Herman Davis speaks to about two dozen people attending a Tlingit language lesson Sunday afternoon in Centennial Hall. Davis is one of about 100 remaining Tlingit speakers who learned the language as children from relatives. Lance Twitchell, University of Alaska Southeast associate professor of Alaska Native languages in Juneau, hosted the free lesson, which was the second of three. The third lesson will be held Saturday noon to 2 p.m. at Centennial Hall. Twitchell is in Sitka teaching at The Outer Coast Summer Seminar. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Bonnie Heins

Bonnie Heins

Bonnie Heins, 67 of Indian River, Mich., and formerly of Sitka, passed away at home on Feb. 22, 2017.

Bonnie was born on March 28, 1949, in Morris, Minn., the daughter of Erwin and Esther (Hauglund) Heins.  After graduating from Morris High School in 1967, Bonnie attended X-Ray Tech School in Minneapolis.

During her career as an X-ray technician, Bonnie lived in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Sitka, before moving to Indian River in 1996.  

When she first came to Sitka, Bonnie worked as a fish processor at Sitka Sound Seafoods. It was demanding work with high standards and she was proud of her work there. Later she went to work as an X-ray technician at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.  

After moving to Indian River, Bonnie worked at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey in mammography.

It was in Sitka in 1986 that she met the love of her life, Richard Gay. They were married here in 1991.

Bonnie enjoyed canoeing, camping, fishing, sewing and spending time with her dogs. She was an accomplished seamstress, making most of her own clothing in her youth and continuing with her passion for sewing throughout her life. She enjoyed helping Rick with his honey bees and spending time in their 1930 Ford Model A. They made many friends in the Northern Rods & Rides Car Club in Indian River.

Rick will always be grateful to their friends for their love and support throughout Bonnie’s illness.  

Bonnie loved all of her family and she enjoyed staying in touch with them.  She is survived by Rick, her husband of 25 years; her mother, Esther Peterson of Morris, Minn.; a sister, Susan Heil of Georgetown, Texas; nephew Jeffrey Heins; nieces Kris Heins, Kathie Ellefson, Sara Baker and Jennifer Lefforge; several great-nieces and -nephews; and her sister-in-law, Carol Heins.

She was preceded in death by her father and a brother, David Heins.

Bonnie’s family and friends will remember her at a memorial service to be held in the near future.  Final interment will be with her family in Morris, MN. Those who wish are asked to consider memorial contributions to the Women’s Resource Center or Hospice of the Straits in Cheboygan or Cheboygan County Humane Society. 

Arrangements are by Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Please share your memories and personal messages with Bonnie’s family at





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