Frank Thomas Bonafede, 93, of Lebanon, Ill., born May 16, 1922, in Alton, Ill., passed away peacefully of natural causes on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, while in the company of family members in his home.
Frank was the second child, and son of Josephine and August Bonafede. Growing up in Alton he attended Alton High School. After graduation, he spent time working as a sales clerk in the family grocery store. In September 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served primarily in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of World War II. He was trained and assigned as an aerial engineer, flying for the most part aboard C-47 aircraft. Frank was discharged from the Army after the war in February 1946. A month later he met Mary Dopuch of East Alton. They were married on Feb. 8, 1947. Shortly thereafter, Frank began building their first home together next door to Mary's parents in East Alton; the last brick of which was laid in August 1948. The consummate handyman his entire life, Frank proved he could tackle any job, large or small.
In early 1951, near the beginning of the Korean War, Frank was recalled into the service. He with Mary and their first child, Jim, moved to the newly reactivated Lake Charles (Louisiana) Air Force Base in support of the Strategic Air Command wing there. By early 1953, they were back home in Alton in time to welcome their second child, Susan, in February that year. In the mid-1950's the family moved to Clay Street in Alton where they remained for the next 30+ years. During this time, Frank held a variety of positions; administrative work with Standard Oil Company, an optician, a sales representative for Shell Oil Company, a Shell service station owner, an adjuster for two insurance companies and finally before retiring, an investigator for an Alton based law firm.
After Mary passed away in 1986, Frank relocated to an apartment in Lebanon, Ill., home of daughter Susan and her husband Charles "Chuck" DeLorme. After several health issues, the family decided Frank would build and move into an apartment in Susan and Chuck's home. A couple of years after the move, Frank met Beverly Finley, a secretary for the city of Lebanon. They married in April 1991, and settled into Beverly's home near the campus of McKendree University. Over the next nearly 25 years, they traveled often, spent time with their children and grandchildren and socialized with their many friends in the Lebanon area.
Frank was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a hard worker throughout his entire working life, making sure he provided for the needs and wants of his family. He loved to dance, play the clarinet in small bands that he formed and play golf with both of his children as well as his many golfing buddies. Frank was an avid Cardinals baseball fan. He will be remembered for the love and special times shared with family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
In addition to his parents, August and Josephine, Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; brother, Joe; sister-in-law, Betty; and Beverly's son, Larry Finley.
He is survived by his wife Beverly; his daughter, Susan (Chuck) DeLorme of Lebanon; son, Jim (Kathy) Bonafede of Burke, Va.; five grandchildren, John (Jaime) DeLorme of Lacey, Wash., Marysue (Jordan) Christ of Mascoutah, Ill., Scott DeLorme of Lebanon, Patrick (Shatreen) Bonafede of Seattle, Wash., and Kimberly Bonafede of Arlington, Va., as well as four great-grandchildren.
Frank's extended family included Beverly's five surviving children, Nancy (John) Dawson of Mascoutah, Ill., Diana (Bill) Schnell of Libertyville, Ill., Susan (George) Scheel of San Diego, Calif., Phillip Finley of Singapore and Andrea (Jeff) Wachter of Chicago, Ill. This extended family included 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank everyone for their many prayers, emotional and physical support. A special thank you is extended to the Heartland Hospice caregivers for their dedicated service and to St. Joseph Catholic Church administrator, Brenda Pehle for her spiritual support and love.
Service: A memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 901 N. Alton, Lebanon, Ill. Fellowship and lunch in the church hall immediately following the service.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12, 2015