PRINCESS POINT: Roy G. Bonini, age 88, passed away peacefully at Omega House on April 30, 2022 after bravely battling cancer for four years. At the time of his death, his daughter and his son-in-law were with him.
Roy was born at the Dreamland Hotel in Bootjack on February 14, 1934 to James and Stella (Gale) Bonini, the youngest of eight children. He graduated from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School with the Class of 1952, and moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he worked for The Trane Company. Roy was united in marriage to the former Lenore Mattila of Traprock Valley in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army for 2 years, and in the Army Reserve for 4 years. Roy and Lenore had a daughter, Bonee, born in LaCrosse. They later moved to Lake Linden, where their son Brian was born. In the early 1960s, Roy worked as a bartender and bouncer at his brother Bob’s bar, the Maple Leaf, in Bootjack. Roy completed a drafting and design course at Michigan Tech. He was employed as an ironworker for Herman Gundlach, Inc. until his retirement in 1996. He was a member of Ironworkers Local 8.
An artist, Roy was known for his oil painting, wood carving, and sculptures in bronze. His paintings are familiar to many people in the local area, and his bronze sculptures have found homes throughout the country.
Roy learned the skill of sailing as a young man, and owned a series of sailboats, most recently the ketch Lotus. Roy and Lenore loved sailing Lake Superior together, and they had many friends among the boaters of the Copper Country and elsewhere. Roy and Lenore, with friends, sailed the Bahamas. They were members of the Onigaming Yacht Club and enjoyed participating in the club’s sailing activities.
Roy and Lenore traveled extensively for many years. They visited all 50 United States, and their destinations also included Mexico, Canada, South America, Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and Africa. They had memorable visits to many islands, including Easter Island, Tahiti, Pitcairn, American Samoa, and the Galapagos. They saw the polar bears of Churchill, whales in the South Pacific, and the elephants of South Africa.
Roy enjoyed entertaining and relaxing with family and friends at the lake, listening to music (most often “Dino” Dean Martin), dancing, having bonfires, fishing, and cloud watching. He was an avid reader, and especially liked Louis L’Amour western novels and Alistair Maclean adventures. Roy never got tired of watching old movies and could name even obscure character actors. He played golf and hunted in his younger years, and belonged to Whitetails Unlimited and the National Rifle Association.
Roy and Lenore received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Michigan State Police, a Certificate of Appreciation from The Copper Country Volunteer Firefighters Association, and a Letter of Appreciation from the U.S. Coast Guard, for their part in the rescue of two snowmobilers who had fallen through the ice in front of their home at Princess Point on the night of January 27, 1995. The survivors, Susan Lutz and Paul Smith, and their families, always showed great kindness to Roy and Lenore.
Roy is preceded in death by his wife Lenore; his parents; his sisters Ruth (Herman “Mickey”) Malgren, Alberta (Bernard) St. Andre, Lillian (George) Sarazin, Eleanor (Robert) Weber; and brothers Albert “Bob” Bonini, Lt. Col. James “Sparky” (Betty) Bonini, and Charles (Paulette) Bonini. Roy is also preceeded in death by his sisters- and brothers-in law Betty and Wilbert Anderson, Fred and Mary Lou Mattila, Harvey Mattila, Barbara and Joseph Reilly, Robert Sorvala, and Dorothy Delf Bonini.
Roy is survived by daughter Bonee Bonini (Doug Gill) of Lake Linden; son Brian Bonini (Belinda) of Houghton; grandson Brandon Bonini of PA and his children Brooke and Jordan; grandson Josey and Jessica Aalto of Marquette, and their children Ernest, Everett, and Emmett; granddaughter Brittany and Ryan Shomo of PA, and their children Raelyn and Lachlan.
Also surviving Roy are his sisters-in-law Florence (Robert) Sorvala, and Betty (Harvey) Mattila; sister- and brother-in law Lois and Weldon Gaulin; and special cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
The family is thankful to the Bootjack First Responders, Mercy EMS, the staff at Portage Hospice, and the staff at Omega House for the loving care Roy was given by all.
The funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4 at Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden with Reverend John Henry to officiate. Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home. Burial will be at the Lake View Cemetery in Calumet at a later date. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests a memorial in Roy’s name to Bootjack First Responders or to Omega House.
Online condolences may be left at pearcefuneralhome.com