I read the notice sent by USA Dance today that Jerry Bonmer, Membership Director, was leaving his position at the end of this month, but was surprised by its brevity. On July 29, 2013 in a post on this site I wrote that it was Jerry who sent me and my husband, Mark our membership cards when we joined USA Dance (then USABDA) as brand new competitors in 1985.
When I became a member of the Governing Council in 1996 Jerry was one of the first to congratulate me and I could always count on his advice and encouragement over the years. And whenever I took a position Jerry did not agree with, he let me know that too, loud and clear!
During my years as a Regional Vice President I sat next to Jerry at most of the Governing Council meetings and Jerry was never shy about speaking his mind on any issue before the GC . There was never anyone better than Jerry at turning the direction of a meeting around that had headed off course and making sure that the GC concentrated on the most important thing, which was keeping the best interests of the membership front and center in any discussion.
Jerry and his wife Sue are founding members of USA Dance and were present and involved in many of USA Dance’s milestones over the decades. Additionally, Jerry could always be counted on year after year to assist at Nationals – handling any and all competitor membership issues right there so that all who were eligible to compete were able to do so without delay, and assisting in any other capacity as needed. He interacted with the chapters on a daily basis, providing membership data, sending out membership cards and promptly answering membership questions. Many chapters grew to rely on Jerry and the membership data he provided them.
I enjoyed frequently sitting with Jerry and Sue at Nationals where I could hear what the Bonmers had to say about so many of the couples, as their knowledge of and friendships with scores of dancers was legendary. And Jerry always had many stories to tell of USA Dance’s early years – its champions and those who played an important formative role in the organization from the very beginning.
Jerry is the last founding member of USA Dance to leave the Governing Council, and I look forward to seeing a fitting tribute to him in the next issue of the American Dancer Magazine. I consider Jerry and Sue to be true friends, and look forward to the continuation of our friendship in the years ahead.