Cover photo for Bonnie Joy Mclaren's Obituary
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In Memory Of
Bonnie Joy Mclaren
1942 2024

Bonnie Joy Mclaren

October 21, 1942 — March 18, 2024

It is with profound sorrow, deep admiration and respect for a life well-lived that we announce the passing of Bonnie J. McLaren on March 18, 2024. Her much-accomplished life was filled with great passion for learning, all creatures great and small, and serving her country.

Bonnie was born in Painesville, Ohio, and raised in Mentor, Ohio, by her parents, Marjorie (Overly) McLaren and Owen McLaren, along with her brother, Ronald McLaren. After receiving nursing degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, including serving as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in the United Kingdom to study the delivery of community healthcare, Bonnie moved to Denver and taught at the University of Colorado for several years. She joined the Wyoming Air National Guard as a flight nurse in 1968 and continued her reserve career for 27 years, finishing her time as a medical-legal consultant for the United States Air Force at Scott Air Force Base Air Mobility Command in 1995. She was honored to receive the Legion of Merit and be promoted to full Colonel. Her military decorations include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. When she thought she would be deployed to serve in Operation Desert Shield in 1990, she wrote to her mother of her military service, "I am fortunate to have a mission where I help the wounded and sick in time of desperate need. I would not trade my current position with anyone else. I am where I am needed."

In 1981, Bonnie graduated from the University of Denver College of Law and practiced for 19 years, defending healthcare facilities and healthcare providers, until her retirement in 2000 as a partner in the firm Miles & Epstein, P.C. She also was a legal advisor to the chief nurse at Scott Air Force Base and served as a speaker, program developer, and author on legal issues affecting nursing practice and the delivery of healthcare services. Following retirement, she spent much of her time visiting historic U.S. sites and traveling to all seven continents, including her last international trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt where her cruise ship was escorted through the Suez Canal by Japanese destroyers to evade pirates. Never one to sit still, she volunteered countless years to the Denver Zoo as a docent, the American Red Cross, which honored her with a statewide leadership award, and The National Western Stock Show.

Bonnie is preceded in death by her mother, best friend, and travel companion, Marge, her father, Owen, brother, Ronald, and sister-in-law, Patricia. Continuing her legacy are her nieces and nephews-in-law Dr. Carole and Thomas McLaren, and Christine and Christopher Smith, grandniece Megan Smith, and grandnephews Ian Smith and Alexander Smith. The family also wishes to thank the devoted care of ComForCare of Dayton, most particularly LaTasha Moore, Harborchase of Beavercreek, and Day City Hospice.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Denver Zoological Foundation, 2300 Steele Street, Denver, CO, 80205, Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman Street, Denver, CO, 80203, Friends of Man, P.O. Box 937, Littleton, CO, 80160, or Day City Hospice, 7601 Paragon Road, Suite 203, Dayton, OH, 45459.

Graveside services with military honors will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at 2 p.m. at Fairmount Cemetery, 430 S. Quebec Street, Denver CO, 80247.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fairmount Cemetery

, Denver, CO

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