Ruth Agnes Killgallon Gilbert, known to all as Bonnie, passed to the glory of God on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Her life was devoted to her family, her friends and her canine companions.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bonnie was the daughter of William Casley Killgallon, chairman of the Ohio Art Company, which made the world-famous Etch A Sketch, and Ruth Carpenter Killgallon. She married her high school sweetheart, Stephen Paul Gilbert. They were both graduates of Bryan High School and remained married for 53 years. Bonnie graduated with a degree in library science from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin; she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, an international sorority.
Bonnie worked in the Fort Wayne Library system and was a docent of the Toledo Museum of Art. She shared her passion for skeet shooting, horseback riding and dogs with her husband, Steve.
Bonnie and Steve bred Airedales under the kennel name Merritt Judd (MJ) Airedale Terriers. Their own dogs, and dogs they bred, earned many show championships and hunting field titles all while being superlative house pets. Bonnie was a successful event organizer and fundraiser for the Airedale Terrier Club of America, Hunting/Working Airedales, and the Ohio River Valley Airedale Terrier Club.
She was also a member of the Women’s Club in Lima, Ohio.
Bonnie was a 40-year breast cancer survivor and volunteered with Cancer Cares, offering support and personalized care during others’ cancer journeys.
In later years, Bonnie became a volunteer at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution. She was an assistant instructor for the PETS Program, working with inmates to train dogs from shelters for new lives as family pets. She was also involved in the prison ministry with the Awareness Retreat team, helping to hold retreats and Masses at the prison. Bonnie treated each and every one of the prisoners with warmth, respect and dignity and was well-loved in return.
Bonnie assisted her dear friend, Dorothy Miner, an author and renowned dog trainer, in the Sidekicks dog training program in Delphos, Ohio.
Bonnie is survived by her husband, Stephen Paul Gilbert of Lima; her son, Stephen Paul Gilbert Jr. (Lauren Dockett) of Washington, D.C.; two grandsons, Kieran and Liam Dockett-Gilbert; her brothers, William C. Killgallon (Susan) and Martin Lawrence Killgallon II (Debbie) of Bryan, Ohio; her sister, Katherine Killgallon Michelsen of Highlands Ranch, Colorado; 12 nieces and nephews; and numerous grand nieces and nephews.
A lifelong Presbyterian, Bonnie’s memorial will be held at the Ada First Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28. Her spirit of charity and ecumenism lives in the hearts of her extended family.
Donations in her memory may be made to Ada First Presbyterian Church.