William J. Bonkowski Jr.
Tue, 03/09/2021 - 10:48am caleb
William J. Bonkowski Jr., a.k.a. “Bill” a.ka. “Boss,” loving husband and cherished father, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 22nd. It is with heavy hearts that we say good bye to this loving man, whose love of animals, large and small brought such delight to his life. He will live on in our hearts and souls forever.
Bill was born on July 21st 1933 in Detroit Michigan. He grew up in Highland Park and graduated high school from St. Francis Xavier in Ecorse, Michigan. He then attended University of Detroit from 1953 to 1954.
Bill joined the Army in April of 1954 and completed basic training at Camp Chaffee in FT. Smith Arkansas. He became a U.S. Signal Corp High Speed Radio Operator and was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division-60th Infantry Regiment in Heilbronn, Germany. Bill worked as a Col.'s aide throughout his tour. His regiment was responsible for patrolling the border of Germany and Czechoslovakia. Upon completion of his tour in 1956 at the rank of Corporal, Bill completed his education at Eastern Michigan University graduating with a BA in Education in 1958 and was the quarterback for the football team during his time there. He married Jackie Matthews (the Police Chief’s daughter) in Trenton, Michigan in 1960 where he was working as an officer for the Trenton Police Department. During this time, they had two children, Bill and Mary Jo. Jackie sadly passed away in September of 2018.
Bill and his family moved to Grayling in July 1974. Bill worked at one of our local banks and was also President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1977 and 1978.
Bill enjoyed careers in education, law enforcement and banking and finance throughout his life and was a swimming and water safety instructor for the Red Cross for over 30 years. Bill was an avid artist, cartoonist, and woodworker and a member of our local VFW Post.
Preceded in death by his parents, William & Mary Bonkowski, and his loving wife of 61 years - Jacqueline. Bill is survived by his children, William J. Bonkowski, III of Grayling and MaryJo (Michael) Fullerton of Acme; his loving cousins, Judy Hopper of Williston, Florida and Robert (Jan) Ulieru of Lansing, Michigan: loving sister-in law, Deanna Matthews of Flat Rock, Michigan; nephews, Bobby (Charlene) Matthews of Brownstown, Michigan, Brian (Sue) Matthews of Troy, Michigan, Michael (Debbie) Matthews of Ketchikan, Alaska, Kathy (Bruce) Stevenson of Lincoln Park, Michigan, and Tommy (Naomi) of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Bill will be missed by his family, neighbors and many friends who always have known him to have a kind word and funny story or a treat for someone’s furry friend.
Visitation will take place March 20, 2021 from 11-1:30 p.m. with a memorial service to follow with Pastor Brandon Rogers officiating.
A light lunch and sharing of memories will follow at the Eagles from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, if you wish to remember “Boss” by memorial contribution, please consider the Ausable Valley Animal Shelter.
Arrangements by Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home.