OGDEN — If there’s one thing Bonnie Maruri is not, it’s bored.
The 84-year-old Ogden resident never wakes up with nothing to do.
On Mondays, she volunteers at the Ogden Rescue Mission’s Seager Memorial Medical Clinic. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she can be found at Gold’s Gym, teaching water aerobics. She walks her two dogs, Lola and Josie, every day, tends to her own garden and is active in her church.
“I can always find something to do,” she said. “I love what I’m doing with my life. If you stay active, you stay young.”
Maruri’s daughter, Ann, said her mother is hard to keep up with.
“She’s very active. She’s very upbeat,” she said. “Her family and neighbors have always been very important to her. She helped everyone and continues to take care of people to this day. She’s an amazing woman.”
Born and raised in Ogden, Maruri graduated from Ogden High School and attended Weber College, where she met her husband, Frank. The couple had five children. Frank died 32 years ago, and Maruri decided not to remarry.
“I worked and volunteered,” she said. “After I retired from working at Manor Care nursing home, I wanted to stay busy, so I started volunteering at St. Benedict’s Hospital. One of the sisters there got me involved at the Ogden Rescue Mission.”
Every week, Maruri puts together patient charts for the doctors and works at the front desk. Since the economy has slowed down, she said, the clinic sees more patients who work but have no health care insurance.
“It’s a wonderful service, and the doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists there all volunteer their time, and they are phenomenal,” she said. “It’s fun to get to know the patients and then to see them when you’re out and about in town.”
About 15 years ago, Maruri said she was suffering with arthritis pain. Her sister told her to go swimming, so she went to Gold’s Gym and ended up becoming an aerobics instructor.
“The water aerobics has saved my life,” she said. “I was able to move around without a lot of pain, and when I came out of the water I was invigorated. Now I have students who tell me the class is their salvation as well.”
Maruri said she never hesitates to tell her aerobic students her age because she hopes it will encourage them to stay active.
“Maybe I can be a good mentor for them,” she said. “I’ve had people come in complaining about aches and pains, and now they don’t do that any more. We have fun. We laugh, we tease each other, we work out and work hard and then I go home and take a nap.”
Owning a pet also keeps her mind off her own troubles, she said.
“When you have a pet, it keeps you from thinking about yourself and all of your problems. You have a responsibility to take care of them and focus on them. A pet is so good for you in so many ways.”
Maruri said her spirituality also keeps her going. She is a lector and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden.
“Church is important and I love it there. It brings me peace,” she said. “I was married there. I was baptized there. It’s just like home to me.”
Although she has stayed active and involved her whole life, Maruri said her family is her biggest accomplishment.
“They have been my greatest blessing in life,” she said. “I raised five wonderful children who became good citizens with good ethics and values. There’s nothing better than that.”