Let’s meet wonderful lady, Bonnie S. Englebardt. She is married to the last World War II veteran serving in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Frank Lautenberg who sadly we regret to inform he passed away this morning at 4:02 am due to complications from viral pneumonia.
Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg is an esteemed photographer, writer, philanthropist, and business woman. A creative person by nature, Lautenberg received a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from New York University and went on to pursue a career in real estate development but never abandoned her passion for photography. Mrs. Lautenberg has successfully sold her photography privately for a number of years and has received critical praise for her exhibits, beginning with her first solo show in 2005 titled Earthworks and more recently Lady Gaga Performing: Photographs by Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg exhibited at the Vered Gallery in East Hampton, New York.
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Mrs. Lautenberg has become known for her portraits of political figures, including a photograph of President Barack Obama which has hung in the Oval Office, as well as portraits of 113 U.S. Senators from the 109th – 110th Congress as part of her most recent installation project, How They Changed Our Lives, Senators as Working People – which made its debut at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City on October 7, 2012. Bonnie says about her art work:
This project was inspired by a gift I made for Frank using a photograph I took of him in the Senate Appropriations Room and combined it with text describing 12 pieces of legislation he authored and got signed into law.
Can you imagine she got inspired by history itself made by her beloved husband! Bonnie’s father is the brother of New York real estate and financial mogul Saul Steinberg, she has a sister named Carol Englebardt. Bonnie was married before but her husband Hank died of an unexpected heart attack at the young age of 40. From that marriage she had two daughters Danielle Englebardt and Lara Englebardt Metz.
The couple who shook everybody when they married in 2004 were companions for 16 years having met in the late 80’s! They first met when Bonnie traveled to Washington with a citizens group to lobby members of the Senate for support for Israel. She followed up that visit with a thank-you card and a note telling the senator that she was recently widowed and asking if he knew of any “interesting” men who might be nice dinner dates. Recalling that moment the senator said during an interview:
“I put that card in my pocket, and about five months later, I called her,” “We went out, and I don’t know whether she found me interesting, but here we are 16 years later.”
When they married Frank was 81 and she was in her 50’s. Senator Lautenberg is survived by his wife, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; six children and their spouses, Ellen Lautenberg and Doug Hendel, Nan and Joe Morgart, Josh and Christina Lautenberg, Lisa and Doug Birer, Danielle Englebardt and Stuart Katzoff, Lara Englebardt Metz and Corey Metz; and 13 grandchildren.
Our condolences and respects to all of his family. May Sen. Frank Lautenberg rest in peace.