Miss Emma E. Bonvicin, age 96, was born on July 18, 1921, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She was the daughter and first child of the late Peter and Roma (Flaim) Bonvicin, who at that time was studying Plumbing and Heating through a correspondence course. Louise M. Gifford, Emma’s sister and only sibling, was born in 1926 at Mt. Vernon, New York and who preceded her in death in 2015. The family then moved to the Bronx and into the house of the DeFazio’s. A quote from Emma: “I went to school – kindergarten –with Winnie DeFazio. I remember a Maypole Dance during May Day celebration.”
After she went through first and second grade, the whole family moved to Bristol, where her father Peter joined the Burnstead Plumbing and Heating Company. Emma attended local schools, and graduated in 1938 from Colt Memorial. She then continued on to Rhode Island College of Education to learn teaching. Graduating in 1942, she began training in 1940 at Byfield School under Principal Marguerite Brogan. At age 19 Emma was teaching 42 pupils all the 4th grade subjects: History, English, Math and Science. Emma taught 4th grade at Byfield, Reynolds, Walley and Andrews Schools in Bristol from 1942 to 1974 when she retired; 32 years of teaching. She also taught Night School and took courses towards her Master’s Degree, including classes with Edna Lawrence at the RI School of Design Nature Lab. Other courses she enjoyed were woodworking and metalwork but her favorite hobbies were ceramics, reading, listening to Classical Music, and the music of the Big Bands of the 40’s to the 70’s. She also loved listening to singers like Sinatra.
Emma’s father died in 1983 and her mother spent 2 ½ years at Grace Barker Nursing Center. She lived to be 100 years old. Emma herself spent a week in Newport Hospital beginning on May 21, 2009, then she spent 2 and ½ months at Silver Creek Manor in Bristol for physical therapy and rehab. On August 11 that year, she moved to Grace Barker Nursing Center in Warren where she lived until her passing, Tuesday, February 6, 2018.
She is survived by her two devoted nieces; Susan L. Gifford and Paula B. Butlin (Todd D.) both of Bristol.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a graveside service Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Chestnut Street, Bristol. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Bristol or Warren Animal Shelters. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go to www.sansonefuneralhome.com
Charitable donations may be made to:
Bristol Animal Shelter
10 Minturn Farm Road, Bristol RI 02809
Warren Animal Shelter
80 Wood Street, Warren RI 02885