BONDER, EVELYN DARNOVSKY  (10 Dec. 10 1918 – 15 April 2015) was an early tireless advocate of opportunities for women. She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, to Joseph and Mary (Cohen) Darnovsky.  Bonder graduated from Glenville High School and in 1939, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, from Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University (now CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY). In 1939-40, she attended its School of Applied Social Science, and in 1960, received a master’s degree in Education.     

In 1970, Bonder was chosen to be the director of PROJECT EVE (Education, Volunteerism, and Counseling) of CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (CCC), which had been established in 1966 to provide counseling and classes to encourage women to re-enter the work force or enter nontraditional jobs. As a local pioneer on women’s issues, she became a founder – “the godmother” – of the INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S YEAR, GREATER CLEVELAND CONGRESS. Women of all races, faith traditions, economic backgrounds, and political preferences from more than 300 institutions participated in the three-day event in October 1975. The congress attracted an audience of 45,000 women, men, and children to its panels, workshops, lectures, and celebrity talks, on education, work, marriage, and politics. Bonder was then made director of the Displaced Homemakers Program at CCC.

AbeBonder, whom she had married in 1939 died from Alzheimer’s disease in 1983, and in 1985, she became a legislative aide to fellow Glenville High School classmate, U.S. Senator HOWARD METZENBAUM. She helped draft a bill to aid the victims of Alzheimer’s disease and their families. 

In 1993, Bonder was named to the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for her work on behalf of the elderly. At age 90, she and nine other women, ages 89-96, celebrated their bat mitzvahs.  

Bonder was a guest columnist for the CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS, and in 1999, she published letters in THE PLAIN DEALER, urging a name change for the CLEVELAND INDIANS.

Bonder had three children: Rena Waxman, Betty Bray, and Daniel.  She is buried in Mayfield Cemetery.

Marian Morton


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