Bonnie Joan Metts died peacefully in her sleep last night. She was 74.
Born on November 7, 1933 in Naples, Florida, she was the daughter of Jack and Mary Prince. Although she came from a family of some means, her own mom was killed in an auto accident when she was four and her Dad never quite understood or accepted what we would call today a learning disability.
She found a friend in Jesus, however, and also introduced him to a young drifter named Wally Metts. They ran off and got married in Georgia when she was 17 and began a remarkable life together, marked by 50 years planting and pastoring churches in Florida and Tennessee.
A noted pastor, author, Christian educator and radio personality, he preceded her in death by six years. She was also preceded in death by a menagerie including dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, ducks and goldfish, all of which she maintained her husband was now caring for in heaven.
Noted for her gift of mercy, her love of animals, and her adventurous spirit, she will be missed by her three children and their spouses (Wally and Katie, Toy and Kent, Joy and Garry), twelve grandchildren (Margaret and John, Christian and Ann, Ryan, Mitchell, Michael, Elyse, Corey, Pilgrim, Krista, Myra), two great-grandchildren (Tabitha and Timothy), a step-mother (Grace), two sisters (Mary and Betty), a brother (John), former parishioners (hundreds), caregivers (dozens) and her cats (two).
Loved as a Sunday School teacher and pastor’s wife, she was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Englewood, Florida. Once a year she gathered with the Old Timers Club of Naples to celebrate the heritage of “Old Florida.”
She struggled for over a decade with complications from a stroke, diabetes, renal failure and four episodes of cancer, but remained unto the end a rare, independent spirit who loved the open road and never lived in a house with air-conditioning.