Lonna Braverman (nee Schroeder) was born to fly. Born in Alton, Illinois, in 1953, with early years in St. Louis, Missouri, she was the daughter of an aeronautical engineering father who, while working for the space program, named a space capsule after her to mark her 10th birthday (“Miss Lonna”). Like him, she embraced flight in glorious forms. Consider: competitive swimming (butterfly), in the sky (flying a plane at 15, pilot licensed by 17), in early work (community airport air traffic controller at 17), down the field (competitive rugby), on the road (cross-country bicycling), on the water (competitive rowing and fly fishing), on the golf course (following a soaring ball while muttering something about a spoon), and in Business Class (a million miler).
Moving from St. Louis to outside Edwardsville, Illinois, Lonna graduated from Edwardsville High School and embarked on a whirlwind ’72 summer tour of Europe via shabby Citroen and overnight train before settling into the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana). There, she fell in love with computer engineering (“it responds to problem-solving”), rugby (“because it’s hard”), and her dormitory sisters, aka AGHAST (Allenhall Girls Having A Snack Time), who became lifelong friends.
A newly-minted computer engineer in a time when women weren’t, she moved to Chicago in 1976 to embark on an engineering and consulting career (GTE Automatic Electric, SEI Information Technology, Ygomi LLC), while helping to found the Chicago Women’s Rugby Club, and selflessly dedicating herself to the growth of the Chicago hospitality industry (bars). Somewhere in there, she earned her MBA from the University of Chicago (1986).
Lonna met and married her adoring Joe before moving—and taking her job with her—to Bozeman, Montana, where they lived a happy, outdoor life, made many new friends, and raised and loved a parade of Labrador Retrievers. Diagnosed with ALS in 2018, she beat it back by applying engineering and problem-solving to anticipate every stage of decline.
She was loved and is preceded in death by husband, Joe, and parents, Lloyd and Thelma (nee Johnson); will be loved and missed by brother, Steve (Rose), and niece, Michelle (Chris and son, Austin); and remembered by stepdaughters, Melissa and Erika Braverman (Paul, Alexandra, and Asa). She leaves behind Jake, Rocky, Rocky’s wiggling butt, and many adoring friends, who will miss her forever.
Now she’s flying free.
At Lonna’s request, no service will be held at this time. In lieu of flowers, you may impact the life of those with ALS by donating to the Team Gleason Foundation (online @ teamgleason.org/donate/[teamgleason.org]).
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]