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Michael E Bonn

Michael E Bonn

Michael E. Bonn, age 57 of Durand, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at the Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Eau Claire surrounded by his family singing “Your Song”.

Mike was born on August 4, 1963 in Chippewa Falls. He was the son of Edward E. and Carol A. (Saxe) Bonn. Mike grew up on the family farm in Lake Holcombe where hard work was a part of life. He started his music at a young age with his “ya-ya”. In seventh grade, Mike started playing drums in the polka band, Kevin’s Kountry Kousins. While in high school, Mike played for a polka band named, Schultzies Toe Teasers. Mike received a scholarship to go to Mount Scenario college in Ladysmith, where he received two BS degrees in music. While in college, he was involved with all vocal and instrumental ensembles he could be a part of. Mike also became a member of the Free Beer Quartet in 1983 and later a drummer in the Back Stage band.

After college, Mike became a substitute teacher for the area and was a junior high basketball coach. He soon joined the Johnny Lynn Show as a keyboard player and a vocalist from 1986-1988. While traveling with the Johnny Lynn Show, Mike met country stars such as Johnny Paycheck, Bobby Bear, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Tom T. Hall. Mike’s last gig with Johnny was being the house band for Loretta Lynn’s daughter, Betty Sue in Conover.

Mike then joined the rock and roll variety band, Hit and Run, based out of Eau Claire. He and Terry Smith also developed a duo band called BS, representing Bonn and Smith. Mike began his music teaching career during that time in 1991 in Plum City.

In 1990 Mike fell in love and married the love of his life, Kristin Stelzig on June 5, 1993 on thier pontoon on Lake Holcombe. At that time, Mike was playing in the band, teaching music full-time and coaching boy’s junior high basketball in Plum City. In 1995, Mike and Kris received the news of their first child, so Mike opted out of the band life. They were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Kayla in 1996 and in 1998, they were blessed again with a beautiful son, Michael. In 1998 Mike received his instrumental music degree from Northland College in Ashland. In 2000 he received his master’s degree in music from UW-River Falls.

In 2010 his college quartet, Free Beer was called to audition for the show, America’s Got Talent. After their audition, they were selected to go to Los Angeles, CA to sing on the show. Now reunited, the quartet decided to stay together and they sang for many venues in Wisconsin, including fairs, Mardi Gras’ and care facilities. One of their favorite venues was singing the National Anthem in Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers, which they enjoyed singing there on five different occasions.

Mike was a big Brewers and Packers fan. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a loving and humorous man that impacted many lives. Most of all, Mike loved spending time with his family and friends.

On August 3, 2018, Mike had to retire from his music career in Plum City due to his ALS (Lou Gerhig’s Disease) diagnosis. He taught music for 27 years, all in Plum City. Mike had a passion of sharing his love of music with his students.

Mike’s motto throughout his life was, “Go through Life with a smile on your face and song in your heart.”

Mike is survived by his wife, Kristin; daughter Kayla (fiancé Eli) Bonn; son Michael K.; his mother; Carol Bonn; sisters Barb (Sean) O’Halloran, Jane (Ken) Ash and Traci (Frank) Cynor; brother Tim, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his father Bud Bonn; brother Darrel in infancy and a sister-in-law Sheila Bonn.

The family would like to thank the communities of Plum City and Durand for their unending support throughout Mike’s battle with ALS.

Funeral Services will be 1:00PM Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at the First Presbyterian Church in Cornell with Rev. Bev Thompson officiating. Burial will be in the Cornell Cemetery. Visitation will be 4:00PM-8:00PM Tuesday at the Rhiel Funeral Home in Durand and from 11:00AM until time of services at the church on Wednesday. The funeral will be live-streamed on the Rhiel Funeral Home Facebook page as well, https://www.facebook.com/rhielfuneralhome.

Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.


  1. Laura (Lueck) Schoonover

    I was saddened to hear of Michael's passing. I always called him Michael, as I thought Mike was too generic for him. Michael and I went to school together spending K-12 in the same class. My first memory of Michael was in Kindergarten when he banged me over the head with a cardboard building block and announced that "Santa is your parents, stupid," all the while I adamantly denied the thought. He was a bit of a scamp and got into mischief often. He was always small for his age but by the time we started having class reunions, I hardly recognized him. Michael had one shinning talent and that talent was music. Michael's musical ability became obvious when he joined band and choir. I wasn't in band, but I participated in Choir, Swing Choir, and school plays with Michael. He was always a lot of fun! It didn't surprise me that Michael went on to be a music teacher, but I have often wondered how he passed his other subjects. He wasn't a very good student in high school, especially in history and math classes, and I knew this as he often sat next to me. Somehow, he made it through. He liked sports and talked the girls in to playing football at his cousin, Cynthia Dixon's, early teen birthday party. I was unfortunate enough to play opposite Michael, big mistake. He didn't spare me because I was a girl. He took me out, as if I were one of his teammates! I never agreed to play sports with him again. I remember Michael dislocating his shoulder on more than one occasion. No wonder. Although Michael loved sports, he loved music more. Michael had a natural talent for music, and I thought it was wonderful that he shared his talent as a teacher. Music was his true calling and I know he inspired many, young and old. Michael's obituary was so impressive. I knew he pursued music, but I was amazed at all his accomplishments. His family must be so proud of him. Rest in Peace, Michael. My deepest sympathy to Michael's family and close friends.

  2. Tom Hofmeister

    Thank you for inspiring music in the lives of so many students. Especially this one.

  3. Peggy McRoberts

    Mike was a wonderful guy. I feel honored to have known him. My boys all have a wonderful memories of him being their music teacher.

  4. Paula Smith

    i did not know the Bonn family i heard that Mike was a very talented music teacher and i wanted them to know they have my sympathy and ill keep praying for them

  5. Lynn (Mohr) Emerich

    Mike's family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all on loss of Mike.

    Lynn (Mohr) Emerich


    So many fond memories of kindness, laughter and song! He was such a fun loving man who will be missed by many!
    All the love to Kris, Kayla and Michael
    Love,Aunt Angie

  7. Tim & Kathy Olmstead

    Our deepest Condolences. Growing up as kids we always looked forward to playing with the Bonn kids, Mike introduced me to my wife Kathy, he was my best man at my wedding. We will miss him dearly.

  8. Ned & Anna Waltz

    Our sincere sympathy to you Kris, Kayla, & Michael.
    I had the honor to work with Mike for 20 years at Plum City Schools. I always admired how he worked with the students! School Concert nights were always my favorite night at work!
    Mike Always did have a SMILE on his Face and a SONG in his heart!

  9. Marty & Diane Prissel

    Our deepest sympathy to the Bonn family. Such a fun loving guy! Rest In Peace Mike!

  10. Tim Sime

    Carol, Jane, Tim and Tracy, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mike. I have always had the memory of being out at the farm when Mike gave us an impromptu music concert. Your family, including Mike has always done so much for the schools and community that you have been involved in. He will be greatly missed.

    Tim and Kim

  11. Sara Malles

    Mr. Bonn will be remembered for all he gave to our school and our community. Our thoughts are with you.

  12. Catherine A Schramski

    My deepest sympathies to the whole community. He was amazing such a blessing to somemany.

  13. Kay Kulp

    We all have a hole in our hearts, but being filled with so many wonderful memories of Mike. He had a love of life that he shared with family, friends, and students.He touched the hearts of many with his musical talents. He will be missed by many, and .I for one consider myself very lucky to be part of his family. He was a special man in many ways. God Bless you, Mike.

  14. Lawrence Gwozdz

    My heart is heavy. Really liked Mike at Mount Senario. Who didn't?

  15. Perry Glaus

    I was one of Mike's teachers back in his high school days. He was always very upbeat and a good student. I bet he was an excellent teacher. I know this is not an easy time for any of you, but know that he had a positive influence on many lives in high school and I am sure throughout his life.

  16. Colleen & Allan Kraft Family (Jesse, Cody, Andrew)

    Our sincere condolences to the Bonn family and friends.

  17. Bob, Mary, and Jessica Zika

    Mike shared his love of music with so many people. Our sympathy, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Bonn Family.

  18. John, Monica & Jeff Krings

    Our sincere sympathy to you Kris, Kayla, & Michael. Your husband and dad was terrific. He was a friend to all and his music talents still ring in our minds. He suffered a long battle, now is at peace. The Lord will take care of him now.

  19. Bruce Tepfer

    My sincere condolences to Kris, Michael and Kayla...I am so heartened by his passing....but he is at peace and in God's hands... Mike has a special place in my heart....we would spend very many special times at Spirit Lake...and I will cherish them forever...rest in peace my dear fiend...God Bless! Bruce Tepfer

  20. Mike & Holly Girdeen

    Thank you Mr. Bonn for sharing your love of music with our boys. Peace and comfort to Kris and family.

  21. Sharon I. Gingras

    So sorry to hear of Mike's passing. He fought a valiant fight. He shared his love of music in the best of ways, encouraging others. He'll now sing with the angels.

    J. Henry and Sharon Gingras

  22. Al and Sandy Klein

    "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”. - Plato

  23. Susan Trotterchaud

    Shelby Trotterchaud Family are so sad for you mrs Bonn and your family thinking of you all may you feel GODS Grace

  24. Kathy Hutter-Messier

    Condolences to the Bonn family.

  25. Jeanine Amundson

    Forever “my sunshine”, sadly missed but the many wonderful memories will be with me forever!!❤️❤️???? Tons of love I’m sending to Kris, Kayla and Michael ❤️❤️❤️

  26. Joanne Hovey

    Mike touched the lives and hearts of so many. He was a gift to Plum City and will be greatly missed. Sincere sympathy to family. God Bless ????

  27. Merlyn Aude

    Love ya forever buddy!

  28. Kathleen Bundy Lieffring

    My sympathy Kris , family & friends. He has definitely made an impact in many lives!

  29. Cynthia and Ronald Robeck

    So sorry for the loss of your brother
    Quite the gentleman

  30. Marlene Zimmer

    Our hearts are saddened to hear of Mike's passing. We were sad when he had to leave his position here in P.C. and now we again feel the loss. Our sympathy to his family. Please know how much joy he brought to so many with his talents. Dick & Marlene Zimmer

  31. Valerene Cataract

    So saddened to hear of the loss of a good man. My sympathy for your family Kris.

  32. Leisha Long

    My deepest condolences to all of Mike's family and friends. My heart is broken. Heaven gained an angel. He made such an amazing impact on so many lives. Love him dearly. Until we meet again, Mr. Bonn....

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