Bonnie Marks of Imnaha was raised in the Hermiston area and became a permanent Imnaha resident when she married Don Marks, a native Imnaha man, 43 years ago. The couple had one daughter, Darla Marks, who is now a 4-H Extension Agent in Charlotte County, Virginia.
Don ranched 2,000 acres in Imnaha with his father on Marks and Marks Ranch. He is now retired.
Bonnie went to school in Hermiston and college in Pendleton where she took accounting courses –– always a good choice for a ranchers wife. She also worked as librarian at the branch library and was the relief postmaster and then the postmaster for 24 years. She retired as postmaster in April.
She’s been active as a 4-H leader for 35 years and is still a resource leader; along with her husband was a charter member of the Joseph FFA Alumni and was treasurer for that organization; is currently on the Wallowa Valley Library Foundation Board as the Imnaha representative working to get the service district on the ballot; and is active in her church, the Imnaha Christian Fellowship, where she is secretary and treasurer.
Q. What is it you most enjoy about living in Imnaha?
A. The community. The fact that people care about each other and what happens. When you have trouble people will step up and help out. A small community is different than other places. For instance, when Don had a stroke last fall and we needed a ramp, a couple of fellows pitched in and helped my brother, Richard Bondurant of Hermiston, put it together. Also, Don goes down to the store in Imnaha five days a week to meet with some other, mostly retired fellows. They meet in the morning to have coffee and visit and solve the world’s problems.
Q. What did you like best about your many years serving the community?
A. In 4-H, I would say seeing the kids grow and develop and learn life skills they would use all through life. It was rewarding to see how they grew and learned. As a postmaster I saw a lot of changes over the years. When I went to work there was no phone. Portland couldn’t call me. They called the store and they hollered at me to come over and answer it. Now it’s all computer. I enjoyed seeing the people who came in and giving them good service.
Q. What do you look forward to in the future?
A. I think we’ll see mostly more of the same in Imnaha. The people change but the community stays quite a bit the same. It’s a slower way of life. People come in and when they first come they’re kind of stand-offish and sort of “nobody needs to know my business,” but as they are here awhile they realize it’s just that people care. We’re more willing to go visit one another in our community. I also look forward to doing what I want to do. I’m a quilter and quilting is my pastime. We’d like to travel, too. I’d like to go visit my daughter.