Story by Lon Tytell
The unveiling of a bench at Railroad Green in the Village of Warwick, dedicated in the memory of community activist, Bonni Oswald, took place on Sat., Oct. 22. The Oswald family as well as friends from Warwick Grove and Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard attended the unveiling.
“Bonni’s Bench was dedicated to her and her family as a gesture of love from her friends at Warwick Grove,” said Linda Stambaugh, Bonni’s friend. “The immediate decision of this sweet resting place was made the day after her passing.”
Stambaugh contacted the family and reached out to Shauna, the wife of Bonni’s son, Tucker. She then communicated with her Warwick Grove neighbors to see if they were interested in participating in donating funds for the bench and a plaque. She then contacted Mayor Newhard and the Village Department of Public Works for the necessary approval.
The Oswald family has offered to maintain the bench. Stambaugh wanted to thank Christine Taylor, Patricia Starick, Shauna Oswald and the Warwick Grove community for their help.
Tucker Oswald said that Railroad Green was a special place for his mom. She took her grandchildren to the concerts there with Linda Stambaugh’s grandchildren.
“The bench donated by her friends at Warwick Grove will be a special place to go with our kids and her other grandchildren when they come to Town. Her friends at Warwick Grove were very close to her. They were a second family to her,” said Oswald. “The bench will be a special spot for anyone who knew my mom to come sit and remember the different memories they shared with her.”
Stambaugh said that she and Bonnie “sat, chatted, laughed and prayed together” on another special bench by the sea at the Jersey Shore. She added that everyone that knew Bonni knew she loved spending the holidays with her family and friends and weekends with family as well as celebrations of any kind at the Jersey shore.
“Bonni was a dear mother, nona, sister, friend and loyal smiling face that we all knew in different facets. Our last concert picnic at Warwick’s Railroad Green with our grandchildren was at the same spot as the bench. I hope all will stop, sit, reflect and smile at our Bonni. As a stone thrown into a pond, her ripple of love was felt by all of us,” said Stambaugh.
For Tucker Oswald, it was fitting that the dedication took place on a rainy day. His mom loved a quote by Vivian Greene – “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
“And boy could mom dance in the rain,” said Oswald.