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Vivienne Bonnin ’44

Born Miriam Rivka Goldberg to Henry and Sophie Goldberg, Vivienne grew up in the heart of Portland’s Jewish community on Southwest Jackson Street. She attended Shattuck Elementary School (now Shattuck Hall at Portland State University), and the original Lincoln High School (also a building on the PSU campus). After attending Reed, she graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in social work and went to work for the State of Oregon. She met her husband, John Bonnin, through mutual friends and they married in 1952. They settled in Longview, Washington, and for more than 30 years she contributed her talents as a social worker and supervisor to the State of Washington. They raised their daughters, the late Lyn Smith and Dr. Marni Bonnin, in Longview, but remained active in the Portland Jewish community.

The family was members at Neveh Shalom and Shaarie Torah. Vivienne was active in Hadassah, the American Business Women’s Association, Altrusa, the American Association of University Women, and the National Council of Jewish Women. She served as the unofficial rebbetzin for Cowlitz County and the surrounding counties for decades. After the death of her beloved husband in 1984, she moved back to downtown Portland, where she stayed active, volunteering as a mediator with the Better Business Bureau, and serving on the boards of the Robison Jewish Home and the Oregon Jewish Museum. An avid patron of the arts, she was also a docent at the Portland Art Museum. In April 2015, she moved to Seattle, Washington, to be closer to her daughter, Marni, who survives her.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2016

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