Carmel "Carm" Bonito, age 91, of Waterford, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, at Forestview Healthcare Center, where he resided for over a year. Born in Erie on October 14, 1922, he was a son of Anthony and Susan Verdoni Bonito.
He married Alice Mooradian on October 7, 1949, and she survives.
Carm was a well-known local sports figure, from his early high school years to his many years of coaching. He graduated from Wesleyville High School in 1941, where he lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and baseball. He played football, baseball, and wrestled at Findlay College in Ohio, before joining the U.S. Navy
in 1941. After four years of service, Carm enrolled at Bowling Green University, where he played football and was captain of the wrestling team for three years, graduating in 1949 with a B.S. in Health, P.E. and Recreation.
His teaching career started at Waterford Academy in 1949, and ended with his retirement from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1982. During those years, he served as: Athletic Director from 1949-1982; basketball coach from 1949-1951; baseball coach from 1949-1959, including Eastern Champs three years and Erie County Champs two years; and football coach from 1949-1982, including Erie County Champs three years, with an undefeated team in 1962.
Carm was the first Certified Athletic Trainer in Erie County and served as trainer for the Erie Vets semi-pro football team. After retiring from Fort LeBoeuf, he was the football trainer for Mercyhurst College from 1982-1984. Carm was privileged to serve as County Coach in the Save-An-Eye Football Classic three times - he also played in the game as a high school senior.
Carm organized the first recreation program at Fort LeBoeuf Schools, and he enjoyed playing in the American Legion Baseball League, the Wesleyville and Waterford County Leagues, the Lake Shore League and Glenwood League, and the Senior County League. He was past president of the Erie County Coaches Association, was a PIAA wrestling official for 25 years, and was inducted into the Fort LeBoeuf Hall of Fame in 1996, the Wesleyville-Iroquois-Lawrence Park Hall of Fame in 2008, and the Metropolitan Erie Chapter of the PA Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Carm enlisted in the Navy in 1941 after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served in the Pacific on two destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS Hastings, and was involved in the invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Philippines, Luzon, Marshall Islands, and Tokyo Bay. He was honorably discharged in 1945, as Gunner's Mate First Class.
He was a member of the Waterford Lions Club and recipient of the Melvin Jones Award, and he enjoyed hunting, dog training, hiking, fitness, reading, and traveling.
Carm is survived by his devoted wife of 64 years, Alice; his two children, James A. Bonito and wife Patricia of Waterford, and Patricia A. Sarring and husband Rudy of Edinboro; his granddaughter, the joy of his life, Allyson C. Sarring; two brothers, Joseph Bonito and wife Sandra, and Anthony Bonito and wife Tabby, all of Port Huron, Mich.; and two sisters-in-law, Teresa Mooradian and Patsy Mooradian, both of Erie.
Carm also had a sister, Theresa Lindway, who preceded him in death.
Visiting hours will be at Van Matre Funeral Home, 105 Walnut Street, Waterford, on Monday, July 21, 2014, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. The funeral service will be at Asbury United Methodist Church, West 2nd Street, Waterford, on Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m., officiated by Pastor Linda Ruth of Oasis of Love Church, Edinboro. Private burial, with military honors, will follow at Lakeside Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Fort LeBoeuf Football Boosters, c/o Diane Lewis, PO Box 993, Waterford, PA 16441, the Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society, PO Box 622, Waterford, or the Art Steves Room Fund, c/o Greg Kuzma, 8313 Old French Road, Erie, PA 16509.
Published in the Erie Times-News on July 18, 2014