Bonnie Douglass Menaker, JD, 73, a resident of Marco Island, died on September 11, 2012 at The Aristocrat Nursing Home of Naples, under the care of Vitas Hospice. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia in 1998. Bonnie was born in Harrisburg, PA, the daughter of William Tyler Douglass, Jr., MD, and Mary Hicks Douglass. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, J. Thomas Menaker, JD; and her siblings: Jill M. Douglass, Kim A. Douglass, and William T. Douglass, III.
Bonnie was known and admired for her vibrant personality, unabashed enthusiasm, wit and love of life. She was a graduate of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Her 25 year legal career in Pennsylvania concentrated on family law. Bonnie was a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and was chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section. She served on Pennsylvania’s statewide Appellate Courts Nominating Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the committee that drafted the Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment and Family Law Act. Her civic contributions included service on the local boards of the Civil Liberties Union. She was a founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Bonnie proudly encouraged and mentored other women entering the legal profession at a time when gender equality was not taken for granted.
In 1989, Bonnie retired from her law practice, moved aboard a 40 foot sailboat, and spent the next 11 years circumnavigating the world with her husband, visiting 63 countries on six continents and crossing three oceans in the course of their 62,000 mile passage. Upon completing that odyssey in 2000 they moved to their home on Marco Island where Bonnie spent the next five years walking the beach daily, and taking frequent cruises and driving tours, until her disability required her to enter an assisted living facility in 2006.
Bonnie’s family is grateful for the dedicated professional staffs at The Aristocrat, Vitas Hospice, and the Alzheimer’s Support Network. Memorial services will be scheduled at the convenience of the family. Contributing in Bonnie’s memory would be appreciated by the Alzheimer’s Support Network of Collier County, 660 Ninth Street North, Naples 34103.