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Obituary: Elsa Bondar

Fri, Feb 16th 2018 06:50 pm
Elsa Bondar, 89, of Washington, Pennsylvania, died peacefully on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, at Asbury Heights, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Born on Aug. 4, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, she was the daughter of the late Elsa (Wolkenhauer) and Joseph Schmieger.
Graduating from Steinmetz High School in Chicago in 1945, and from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1949, she began her career by teaching sixth grade and music at Lincoln Elementary School in the Chicago Public Schools.
In 1957, she married Eugene (Gene) Bondar, also of Chicago, and they led a canoe trip to Quetico Provincial Park in Canada for their honeymoon. Pursuing Gene's academic career, they lived in Joliet, Illinois; Syracuse; and Kisii, Kenya, before settling in Grand Island in 1968.
Elsa taught fifth grade for many years at both Sidway and Kaegebein Elementary Schools in the Grand Island Central School District, and she completed a master's degree in education at Buffalo State College in 1976. After retiring from teaching in 1994, she helped to coordinate the Buffalo Niagara League of Women Voters until she and Gene moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, in 2015 to live near their daughter, Carol, and son, Gregory.
In her youth, Elsa enjoyed playing music, hiking, canoeing, and skiing, including a climb of the Grand Teton in Wyoming, and rafting through the Grand Canyon in 1956, and she was very active leading trips for American Youth Hostels. Throughout her life, she loved to travel, visiting all 50 United States, as well as Europe and the Caribbean, and she lived from 1966-67 in Kenya, Africa, with Gene and their children. At home on Grand Island, she enjoyed gardening, attending Buffalo Philharmonic concerts, and exploring geology with the Buffalo Geological Society, leading many school field trips to collect fossils.
She is survived by Eugene, her husband of 60 years, their children: Douglas (Angelika) Bondar of Augusta, Georgia; Carol (Samuel) Johnson of McMurray, Pennsylvania; and Gregory (Elisa) Bondar of Greensburg, Pennsylvania; and grandchildren: Susanna, Alexander, and Erika Bondar, and Noel and Bradley Johnson. She was the sister of the late Anna Schmieger of Chicago.
Elsa's family would like to thank the staff at Strabane Trails Village (Washington, Pennsylvania), Asbury Heights (Pittsburgh), and Family Hospice & Palliative Care (Pittsburgh), for their skilled and compassionate care.
A family celebration of Elsa's life will be held in the summer. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations should be made to the League of Women Voters (https://www.lwv.org), or the National Parks Foundation (https://www.nationalparks.org).

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