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George Otto Bonitz


1922 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
George Otto Bonitz Obituary
November 15, 1922 - January 5, 2018 George O. Bonitz, 95, passed peacefully at his Northridge, California home from Lymphoma. George Bonitz was the consummate Importing and Exporting businessman in the wood business, having managed and owned businesses in Taiwan, and the Phillipines for 60 years. He was Vice-Chairman of Pacific Wood Products in Taipei, Taiwan, with offices in Korea, Japan and Singapore. He later became the President and Chairman of Findley Millar Timber Company in Manila, where he employed 2500 local residents in the lumber and plywood business. There was nothing George did not know about wood. His business friends and partners in Asia are vast and they continued to seek his advice for many years. He started his career at 16 in wood at Penokee Veneer, now Columbia Forest Products in Mellen, Wisconsin. After the Korean War, he moved his family to California to work for Regal Door Company, and then moved to Taiwan in 1960. Of note, George never forgot his roots and had many companies use the veneer mill in Mellen. Returning to the USA in the late 1980's he never really retired and consulted for the wood business until 2016. Quite the athlete, George had a reputation for being fast and quick. He led his high school basketball team in scoring, earning 29 points in one game, making use of the little known "fast break" in 1935. He attended Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Languages. A Veteran of two wars, Staff Sergeant Bonitz was part of the Mighty 8th Air Force 96th Bombardment Squadron's 337th and 339th, and received the "Distinguished Flying Cross" the "Air Medal" and other citations for meritorious achievement in heavy bombardment missions over occupied Europe. In one of his citations it mentions "extraordinary achievement while serving as the right waist gunner, Sergeant Bonitz repelled numerous hostile fighter attacks by his excellent marksmanship, thereby assuring the safety of the crew and aircraft." He flew 31 missions over Europe and because the crew had been so fortunate, his Captain Charles Harvey didn't want to name the plane until later in case it would jinx them. Eventually, it became "Rhapsody in Flak." He was one of many airmen to receive a Distinguished Medal from the Russian Federation for their assistance in Russia. For the Korean War he returned as a Captain and was an engineer on the B-36 bomber. George is survived by his wife Bernice Pauline Bonitz, 90 (nee Anderson from Highbridge, Wisconsin) Jeffrey Bonitz, Marcia Bonitz, Robin Bonitz, Steven and Dianne Bonitz, and grandson Trevor Bonitz. A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 26th, 2018, at 12:00 Noon at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 8250 Winnetka Avenue, Winnetka, California. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the 96th Air Force Bomb Group Association, 31 Brinckerhoff Avenue, New Canaan, CT. 06840
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14, 2018
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