Linda Boner

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Linda Lea (Richtman) Boner was born July 22, 1945, to Pat and Jack Richtman. She was raised in Custer, S.D., and on her family’s 12 Mile Ranch southwest of town. “The Ranch” would become a source of historical pride and Linda took great joy later in life refurbishing the family homestead for her grandchildren.

Linda graduated from Custer High School in 1963. She attended the University of Wyoming for one year where she used part of her tuition to travel to Washington, D.C., to see Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This came as no surprise to friends from her small town, who knew her as “Custer’s Wild Child.” She would transfer to South Dakota State University, earning a degree in counseling and kicking off a celebrated career as an educator.

She broke new ground at the Rapid City (S.D.) School District through the “bilingual education” program which offered enhanced learning opportunities for Native American students and helped them retain their native language. She held positions as a teacher, student counselor and administrator before she retired in 2003 to care for her husband.

Linda was one of a few female school administrators at the time. She was bold, direct and never one to mince words, yet she never took herself too seriously. Her wit and sense of humor were forces to be reckoned with and she did not suffer fools easily. She was fair and compassionate, qualities which inspired loyalty and respect among her peers. While she worked to open doors for underserved students, she also made some of her lifelong friends with whom travelled the world and still met for coffee every week at McDonald’s.

Linda married Gary Boner July 16, 1973 and together they had two boys, Brian and Brad. They were married for almost 33 years before Gary’s death in May 2005. Through the years they made and kept good friends and could often be seen at the original Murphy’s Bar and later at the Regency Lounge. Gary called her “momma” and every year on their anniversary he would ask, “Well momma, wanna re-up?” She always did.

Linda traveled the world with friends, most notability with her friend Norma Jean Denault, who died in 2014. Together they globe-trotted from Alaska, Ireland/UK, Greece, Italy, and various destinations in China, including Guilin and Shanghai. Linda always looked forward to her annual trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, with friends where she enjoyed the shrimp, the sea and even parasailing, but just once.

After her retirement, she spilt her time between Rapid City and Phoenix, Ariz., for extended stays with her oldest son and his family. She took pride in “her boys,” celebrating their successes by swinging from gallery openings in the desert to exploring the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, all to experience everything that brought her sons joy. Later in life she was truly happiest watching her grandchildren discover the beauty of this world and reveling in her role as “Mimi.”

When she was in Rapid City she volunteered with the Meals on Wheels of Western South Dakota, was a hospice volunteer and worked for some time at the tourism center in downtown Rapid City. She was a voracious reader and member-in-good-standing with the Book Babes Book Club. She was an avid PBS and NPR supporter, enthusiastic Bob Dylan fan and ardent Democrat.

Linda died peacefully at her west Rapid City home Dec. 4, 2017, surrounded by her closest friends. She was 72.

Linda was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

She is survived by her sister, Susan (Tom) Barnes of Custer; nephew, Tony (Heather) Barnes of Palmer, Alaska; niece, Margaret “Molly” (Clayton) Schultz of Laramie, Wyo.; two sons, Brian (Christina) Boner of Phoenix, and Brad (Jeannette) Boner of Victor, Idaho; and four grandchildren, Jasper, Adeline, Gary William “Will” and Elias.

Friends are invited to a celebration of Linda’s life at 2:30 p.m. with a light reception to follow Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Terra Sancta Retreat Center, 2101 City Springs Road, Ste. 300 in Rapid City.

Donations can be made to Wheels of Western South Dakota, online at mealspro

gram.com or by mail at 1621 Sheridan Lake Road, Suite C, Rapid City, SD 57702. Or to the the Rapid City School Foundation online at rcpsfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 7733, Rapid City, SD  57709.

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