Cover photo for Vonzella Elizabeth "Bonnie" Henderson's Obituary
Vonzella Elizabeth "Bonnie" Henderson Profile Photo
1941 Vonzella 2023

Vonzella Elizabeth "Bonnie" Henderson

December 19, 1941 — September 18, 2023

Battle Creek,

Vonzella Elizabeth "Bonnie" Henderson, 81 of Battle Creek, Michigan died peacefully with her family at her side on Monday, September 18, 2023, at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital.

Vonzella was born December 19, 1941, in Piedmont, Alabama to Emmett Thompson of Chicago and Martha Williams of Piedmont, Alabama. Her father honorably served our country in the U.S. Army, so she lived in several cities growing up. She graduated from Farragut High School in Chicago and completed Cosmetology courses in Chicago. Vonzella was a hairdresser in Chicago and was employed in Health Care Nursing in Colorado Springs and Denver Colorado.

Vonzella was formerly married to John Burdine. Vonzella was united in marriage to Leonard Henderson on July 15, 1989, in Denver, Colorado. Surviving are her husband, Leonard; daughter, Nadine Burdine of Chicago; maternal stepbrothers and sisters, Keith, Renee, Phillip, Vanessa and Arthur; paternal stepbrothers and sisters, Cheryl, Shirley, Emmett, Phyllis, Arthur Ware; sister-in-law, Eleanor (Arthur) Ware; grandchildren, Jamail, Terrance, Jeffrey, Crystal and their families, numerous, cousins, nieces, nephews and their families. Vonzella was preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and Martha and her son, James Burdine. Vonzella was raised in Chicago by Emmett and Gussie Thompson. They raised her in spirituality and faith and these traits guided her life, her church and the Douglas Park M.B. family in Chicago. Emmett and Gussie were the ones that made her the woman she became. Vonzella was also preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and Gussie Thompson

Vonzella was blessed with numerous artistic skills. She was an accomplished painter, did exemplary freehand drawings, sculpturing and calligraphy. She was a very good seamstress and refinished wood furniture and treasures. When Vonzella dressed, everything was put together, the clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories, she always looked dazzling.  She loved to dance and travel worldwide with Leonard. She was very generous, would stop at the drop of a hat to help others with her time or resources. Vonzella will be remembered as nurturing and giving and available to her family and friends.

I would like to express my love to the Thompson family for accepting a stranger into their family and their hearts. I could never repay the family you gave me. You gave the rarest of gifts; you gave me Bonnie. We walked a path for almost 50 years, always side by side, never behind one another. She was the best part of me. Thank you Emmett, Cheryl, Shirley, Mickey, and Emmett, Jr., from your son-in-law and your brother-in-law. I love you all! Leonard Henderson. Bonnie also gave me a daughter, Nadine, who has been my crutch thru all of this. Thank you Dede, I love you so much ... you just don't know. Leonard

Friends will be received 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Friday, September 29, 2023, at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care, 111 Capital Avenue N.E., Battle Creek, MI 49017, where a service to celebrate Vonzella’s life will be officiated by Rev. Bobby Holly at 11:00 a.m.  The doors will open at 10:30 a.m.  The service will be live-streamed and may be viewed by visiting or the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Care Facebook Page. 


In Memory of Vonzella


One Last Time


Feels weird, being inna a house and not seeing the person that’s usually there.

It’s starting to hit me that I won’t ever see your face light up again.

When me and Boogie walk through the door or hear you ask if I wanted you to make me some food.

It sucks that I won’t be able to sit on the porch with you, and hear you tell me stories about any and everything.

I’m definitely gonna miss the way you cared for me and treated me like one of your own.

You always pushed me to be the best version of myself, whether I liked it or not.

I already miss hearing you say something was pitiful or a pain in the ass, but I’m gonna keep that promise that I will walk across that stage with a big smile on my face.

I just wanna thank you one last time for all that you have done for me and how hard you pushed me to be better.

I love and miss you Grandma Bonnie, rest easy beautiful soul.


By: Brendyn Miller


The Last Will and Testament


A lighthearted wish for those left behind:

And as I sit upon my cloud and look down at the earth,

I’ll watch you use my worldly goods for festival and mirth,

And that will make me smile a smile, and have a laugh quite hearty,

To hear you say, the bugger’s dead, let’s have ourselves a party.


By: Jake Thackray




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