Senior Stories: Bonnie Lee Hunt


Bonnie Lee Hunt’s parents taught her how to work with her hands and raise children. At different times, she made her living doing one or the other, and sometimes both. She said she has lived life to the fullest and often found interesting ways of having fun.

Her father, Frank Cota, owned and operated a garage before going on to own Twin State Windows and Twin State Neon. Her mother, Anna Trieb, was a homemaker and when the kids went off to school she worked in a Tupperware Warehouse.

Born in 1946, she grew up in South Burlington and attended a one-room schoolhouse in Colchester before going on to graduate from Burlington High School.

From age 12 and throughout high school, she took on work as a babysitter. After graduation, she enrolled and graduated from Sheldon Beauty Academy. After graduating from the beauty school, she worked at Simmons Precision Soldering in Vergennes while operating a day care in Bristol.

The trait of raising children well or working with your hands ran in her family and both her sisters were employed in one field or another that involved those skills. Her sister, Cindy, adopted seven children and also owned a day care center; her sister Donna was a ceramic artist and worked as a landscaper.

Bonnie met Paul Hunt in 1965. As she tells it, he needed a date for an event and she didn’t have anything better to do, so she agreed. They married that October and have been married for 54 years.

Bonnie and Paul had two children, Gail and Matt. Gail lives in Florida and Matt resides in Charlotte, Vermont. They have two grandsons; Dillon is 21 and Nickolas is 19.

Eventually, she moved to North Carolina with her husband and worked for Moog, soldering Mercedes Benz Motors. While living in North Carolina, she enjoyed going to all the flea markets and she especially liked to visit Cade’s Cove in Tennessee, where she drove around the beautiful cove and talked to all the locals. She came back to Vermont to be a caregiver to her mother and sister.

Bonnie has always had a huge garden, up to a third of an acre, and used to raise her own animals for food. Her interests and hobbies include sewing – she made all the kids’ clothing while they were growing up, and knitting doll’s clothes.

One of her favorite pastimes when she was younger was watching hound dogs chase a coon which was floated on a raft across a bond of water.

“They would set a coon out on a raft and begin pulling it across the lake,” Bonnie said. “They would then release the hounds and they would swim the lake chasing the coon. Of course, the raft would make it to shore and they would raise the raft up into the trees and the hounds would come out of the water and try to reach the coon which was high up in the tree!”

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