Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

John Edward Bonovetz Jr.

GREEN BAY, Wis. - John Edward Bonovetz Jr., age 78, of Green Bay, formerly of Bessemer, Michigan, left this world to be with his Lord and Savior, on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, at St. Mary's Hospital in Green Bay, after a long courageous battle with COPD.

Our Dad was born on Feb. 21, 1945, at the Grand View Hospital in Ironwood, Michigan, to John Sr. and Violet (Zielinski) Bonovetz. Growing up in a small town allowed you to make forever friends, and that is exactly what he did. Some of the old pictures of the neighborhood kids on the porch steps were classic.

He attended Bessemer schools and was active in baseball, football and track. Upon his graduation in 1963, Dad headed west. All the way to the Pacific Ocean, where his love of country drew him into an enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. He attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. From there he spent a little time in the states, but overseas was his calling. Although he spent some time at Spangdalem Air Base in Germany, the war in Vietnam was in full force. As a radio operator, he was needed in different locations. Clark Air Base in the Philippines, DaNang Air Base in Vietnam, Ubon Air Base in Thailand were all home during that time.

After receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Dad returned to the U.P. to move forward with life. He spent some time as a police officer in the city of Bessemer, but was mostly known for his 30 years of dedicated service at Big Dollar Supermarket in Bessemer. He was one of the core group that made that store a special place in town. Not just a store, but almost a family gathering place. Everyone knew him and always enjoyed conversations during their visits to the store. It was always amusing when people would meet us, only to be asked "oh, you must be Johnny's son!?"

But as time moves on, so do people. Dad had an opportunity to take a position with the State of Michigan Department of Corrections. He enjoyed the change of pace and always spoke highly of the people he worked with there. And as much as he enjoyed working there, he wanted to move closer to his grandkids and their activities. He wound up in Fitchburg, working for the Target Corporation. His eldest grandson and granddaughter lived in that neck of the woods and it allowed him to be closer to them and his eldest son. He truly enjoyed his time down there.

But as those grandkids became older, the younger ones were getting into their activities up in Green Bay. A move to De Pere allowed him to be closer to his youngest grandchildren. He was at the T-ball games, football games, trick-or-treating, and enjoying the cookouts at his younger son's house. And he also made his way back into the grocery business, working for Festival Foods in De Pere. It was nice to stop in the store and see him in his element. The produce department was second to none in the area. He took pride in his work for sure.

But through all of what he lived through, his biggest accomplishment was surrendering his life to Jesus. His testimony is something that has stood out with my brother and me. We can not thank Pastor Todd Winkler enough for starting Dad's journey with the Lord. And even though he moved out of the area, he kept his connection with Pastor Todd close to him. And with a move to De Pere, he was able to connect with another man of God, Pastor Jerry Lewin of Crosspoint Church in Green Bay. Pastor Jerry blessed Dad with his messages and love.

Dad was a proud veteran. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673 in Bessemer, even holding the position of post commander. He was a life member of the Disabled American Veterans Russell Leicht Chapter 3 in De Pere. John thoroughly enjoyed his time volunteering at the VA Medical Clinic here in Green Bay. He always had great stories of the veterans he met and assisted along the way. But the highlight was his trip to Washington, D.C., on the Old Glory Honor Flight. We are so glad he left us a diary of his experience. As a Vietnam veteran, it was nice for him to hear, "Welcome Home."

John was preceded in death by his parents, John Sr. and Violet Bonovetz.

John is survived by his two sons, Brian (Dianna), Portage, and Mark (Terri), Green Bay; four grandchildren, Tanner, Wausau, Emily, Portage, Eldin, Green Bay, and Noah, Stevens Point.

He is also survived by a sister, Mary, Hurley; and two brothers, Greg (Judy), Duluth, Minnesota, and Joseph (Deborra), Bessemer; as well as cherished nephews, Jonah (Laura), Negaunee, Michigan, and Taylor (Erin), Allegan, Michigan, as well as their children.

Dad was an organ donor and was able to provide relief to those in need after his passing. Per his wishes, cremation has taken place. Funeral and burial ceremonies will be announced at a later date. Our family would like to thank all the medical care providers for the care they gave to Dad.

"Welcome Home"

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, Michigan, is assisting the family with local arrangements. Condolences may be expressed online at