William Jacob Bonifas
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Bill, beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and dear friend to many, left this life after 92 years of love and joy. This world has lost one of its most vibrant souls, but lives on in the hearts of the countless people whose lives he enriched.
He was born in Isabella on Aug. 21, 1925, to Elmer and Mabel Bonifas. He worked in his uncle’s lumber mill until he joined the Army in 1944. He was on active duty from 1945 through 1946. He served in the Philippines and in the Occupation Forces in Japan in the Pacific Theater. His career in the Army included being a field lineman in the Signal Corps. In 2013, he was awarded the Non-Commissioned Officers Association World War II Legacy Award for his service.
After returning from the war he met the love of his life, Patricia Guertin, with whom they had eight children. They moved from Michigan to Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1960.
Bill worked in banking for 30 years, retiring in 1986. Post retirement he was a cashier at Goodwill Industries where he received employee recognition for his customer service excellence for 25 years. Mr. Bill, as he was known to all of his customers, was also a dad (or grandpa) to everyone he met. No one was a stranger to Mr. Bill. Everyone was treated with a special kindness, tenderness, a big smile, and when they were lucky, a story from his childhood or a war story from World War II. Coming from a long line of storytellers, he was the clown at any gathering.
In his spare time into his 80s he was an avid skier, mountain bike rider, hiker and constantly active with the family. One of his and his wife’s favorite things to do was their regular Sunday drives in the mountains, sometimes as many as 400 miles a day. Another passion he shared with his wife Pat was trains, and they regularly went to Cripple Creek or Blackhawk to gamble.
He was preceded in death by wife ,Patricia, and his daughter, Iris Howe.
He is survived by children, Daniel (Cynthia) Bonifas, Stephen Bonifas, Amy (Mike) McGuire, Billy Bonifas, Geri (Jerry) Fitzpatrick, Jane (Mark) Gdovin, Mary Bonifas; and son-in-law, Aaron Howe; 24 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Colorado Springs, Colo.