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Elsa Bondar, 89, retired Grand Island elementary school teacher

Aug. 4, 1928 – Feb. 9, 2018

Elsa Bondar, a retired Grand Island elementary school teacher, died Friday in Asbury Heights, Pittsburgh. She was 89.

Born Elsa Schmieger in Chicago, she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1949 and taught in Chicago elementary schools.

After she married Eugene Bondar in 1957, they lived in Joliet, Ill., and Syracuse and spent a year in Kenya. Moving to Grand Island in 1968, she taught fifth grade in the Sidway and Kaegebein Elementary Schools. She completed a master’s degree in education at Buffalo State College in 1976 and retired in 1994.

In retirement, she helped coordinate activities for the Buffalo Niagara League of Women Voters. She and her husband moved to Washington, Pa., in 2015 to be near their children.

Mrs. Bondar enjoyed gardening, attending Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concerts and exploring geology with the Buffalo Geological Society. In her youth, she enjoyed playing music, hiking, canoeing and skiing.

She also was an avid traveler. She visited all 50 states, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. She climbed Grand Teton, rode a raft through the Grand Canyon and led trips for American Youth Hostels. On their honeymoon, she and her husband led a canoe trip to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario.

In addition to her husband, survivors include two sons, Douglas and Gregory; a daughter, Carol Johnson; and five grandchildren.

A family celebration of her life will be held this summer.

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