1943 – 2020
Born Harriet Bonnie Matton in Oakland, CA, July 28, 2020 marked the passing of a truly amazing woman. Along with being a wonderful person,
Bonnie was a mover and a shaker in the world of wild horses. She was a founder of the Wild Horse Preservation League in Dayton where she
served as President for 15 years. She led that organization with a determination and energy that truly made a difference for the wild ones.
She practically coined the term “networking” and with a disarming friendliness she connected with BLM officials, musicians, radio hosts,
politicians, the media, school children, educators, and advocates from everywhere, educating them all as to the plight of the horses. She led
the charge across Nevada to ensure our wild mustangs got the top vote to adorn Nevada’s twenty-five cent piece. She helped organize and
attend countless protests at the Capitol to fight for the protection and preservation of our precious wild horses.
Many people from the Dayton area and beyond have known Bonnie Matton for a long time, and not just for her work with wild horses. Bonnie burst
upon the Dayton scene in 1998 and began working with area schools and children of all ages, volunteering with the Dayton Historical Society, and
reporting for the Dayton Courier. She had met her husband Chuck while working together in Reno and married him in 1999 in Dayton.
Bonnie grew up in Piedmont and attended a business school for a year after high school. She got a job working in the president’s office at the University of California, Berkeley in the turmoil of the 1960’s. There she learned about Public Relations and politics. Later she and her former husband ran a guest ranch in Bodega Bay, California which included a large stable of horses. One day in the local area she visited a mare with a young foal that toddled over and curled up in her lap and fell asleep. That was Danny Boy, who became the horse love of her life and she carried that love over to her watch of the wild ones.
Along with the horses, Bonnie had a deep love for mankind. She also loved the dogs and cats that paraded through her life, the birds she kept fed with all her feeders, and ROCKS of all kinds! She was an avid reader and kept a list of every book she ever read. She also loved to watch movies and enjoyed poking through thrift stores and pulling a few handles at the casinos. She had a marvelous sense of humor and enjoyed time spent socializing with friends. She will truly be missed by all.
Bonnie is survived by her husband Chuck and his family, her sister Cindy Silver, nieces Frances and Wendy, and many friends. A Celebration of Life is planned by WHPL in the spring.
Donations for Nevada’s wild horses are welcome at
WHPL, P.O. Box 1958, Dayton, NV 89403