When people speak of angels on earth, they refer to especially kind and compassionate people such as Bonnie Lanier Rushing, a Bulloch County lady who added a touch of grace to the lives of everyone she met.
A community mourns the loss of Rushing, 53, whose life was ended Oct. 23 by an intruder in her home. Lee Allen Mayhew sits in the Bulloch County Jail, charged with her murder.
Friends remember her as a bright light, a joy to know. Rushing was known to go out of her way to help anyone she could, in every way possible
The Bulloch County native was a 1985 graduate of Southeast Bulloch High School, who graduated twice from Swainsboro Technical College.
She was an “excellent student,” said retired Coach Mike Sparks, who taught Bonnie several classes in high school. “She was very well liked, mild mannered and I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.”
He recalled the times when she was his teacher’s aide and managed the girl’s track and basketball teams.
Following her education, Bonnie worked briefly with First Bulloch Bank in Statesboro, and later began her career with the Department of Family and Children Services, from which she retired in 2017.
Ann Conner knew Bonnie’s parents and remembered when Bonnie
“quit work to take care of her mother,” she said. “I knew Bonnie since the day she was born. She was a very kind and caring person who always had a smile on her face.”
She touched the hearts of many people.
“I have known Bonnie most of my life. We were raised together in Leefield Baptist Church and attended Southeast Bulloch together,” said Tracy Joiner.
“Bonnie has always been a hard-working and dedicated person, she led by example.
“If you knew Bonnie, you immediately knew that she was proud of her family”
Her parents were the late Jack and Gerri Lanier. She and her husband Mike raised two sons, Chad M. Rushing and Travis J. Rushing. Her sister is Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones.
“I have a great sadness over the unimaginable death of Bonnie Rushing,” said Pam Pollard. “She was the sweetest lady that I have ever met. I have known Bonnie for many years through our church family. She was always upbeat and treated me with kindness.”
Belinda Nelson cried as she spoke of her friend.
“Bonnie was a jewel. She had a servant’s heart. We were camping buddies as a family – she loved the lake and the beach; the lake was our happy place. She loved kayaking.”
Bonnie also had a knack for sending the most appropriate spiritual messages too, she said.
Bonnie was an active member of the Brooklet United Methodist Church where she was a member of the Tuesday Morning Prayer Group.
“She was a dear soul,” Nelson said, adding that Bonnie was a dedicated supporter of Ogeechee Area Hospice.
“She was just a good person,” Sparks said. “We are going to miss her. Bonnie was an asset not just to the community but to the world.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.