Houston Chronicle Published 5:30 am, Thursday, July 22, 2004
“Bonnie Patricia Quinn got help when she was 50 years old. She then spent the next 19 years of a life that ended July 9 helping others.
A recovering alcoholic who died at the Conroe Regional Medical Center at age 69 from the effects of long-term emphysema, Quinn used the years after she got sober propping up others.
She turned her tiny Conroe home into a haven for people trying to rebound from chemical addiction.
She even added an extra room to the Silverdale Drive house she dubbed “Granny’s House of Hope” so she’d have ample room for the steady stream of people she tried to help in the homemade halfway house.
Quinn’s daughter, Dorie Sweat of Shepherd, said her mother and father were both alcoholics who moved the family from house to house often, commonly defaulting on the rent. But Sweat said once Quinn sought help, she turned her life around and then set about devoting herself to others.
“Finally, she saw the light. She started working with an (Alcoholics Anonymous) group, and she started her own recovery home for a lot of people, drug addicts, alcoholics. She took in (everybody). That was her goal in life. To help alcoholics and drug addicts and she succeeded in that goal,” Sweat said.
Quinn’s 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous work came in addition to full-time counseling she did for battered women, said Rhonda Butler, one of the women she helped.
“This woman basically worked 12 hours a day or night at the women’s shelter for battered women and children then would come home … to a house full of alcoholics and addicts. She gave up her life for everybody else,” Butler said.
Butler, a Houston resident born in Conroe, said after she was treated for alcohol addiction seven years ago, Quinn became her mentor, friend and “second grandmother.”
A little red fireball
Butler said she admired Quinn for earning a high school general equivalency diploma after she quit drinking, her subsequent certification as a drug and alcohol counselor and the work she did for nonprofits and social service agencies.
But mostly, Butler said, she appreciated Quinn for her kindness, willingness to impart her experience to others with substance abuse problems and unflagging dedication to recovery.
“She got sober and went on a rampage. This woman was a 4-foot-2-inch little redheaded fireball. I don’t know how else to explain her,” Butler said.
Butler, however, said Quinn pulled few punches, either with her during nearly the half year spent at “Granny’s House of Hope” or any other addict.
“I disliked her very much at first because she tells you the truth. Then I just fell in love with her. She guided me through life and was just my world for the last seven years,” Butler said.
Quinn, born April 15, 1935, is survived by three children, Dorie Sweat, Pat Quinn and Lawrence Quinn II, and son-in-law James Sweat. Quinn is also survived by five grandchildren — Patricia, John, James, Jamie and Gene Sweat.
According to faxed obituary information, “also surviving her are hundreds of people that she touched their hearts and souls.”
Funeral services for Quinn will be held 2-5 p.m. Saturday at the Conroe Club, 2030 FM 2854.”
© Bonnie’s House Inc.