Friends, associates and former students of Brainerd City Council President Bonnie Cumberland are inconsolable today at the loss of a woman who gave so much to Brainerd.
Cumberland died unexpectedly this week at home — her unusual absence at a council meeting prompting a concerned inquiry into her welfare Monday night.
Whatever twist of fate led Bonnie Cumberland to accept a teaching job in Brainerd many years ago was a stroke of great luck for our community. Her service to others was widespread and unabated. The retired teacher’s positive spirit embodied every aspect of a busy and productive life. While she was widely known for her service as a teacher, a former Brainerd mayor and a Brainerd City Council member, Cumberland also made innumerable contributions to the Brainerd Public Utilities Commission, Trinity Lutheran Church and to service clubs. Beyond those activities, Cumberland was often the first one to offer friends and acquaintances an encouraging word, a hug or a thoughtful note to express her appreciation.
There are lessons to be learned by reflecting on Cumberland’s life. One lesson is that we could probably all think a little bit more of others, rather than ourselves. Another is that in our busy lives, as we pursue business, political or other objectives, there’s no reason we can’t be pleasant and encouraging to others.