David Vincent Bonczyk, age 73, of Rapid River passed away August 4, 2021 surrounded by family at his home on the Whitefish River after a brief battle with cancer.
A lifelong hunter and fisherman and Vietnam War veteran, Dave had retired from the Escanaba US Postal Service where he had worked for twenty-eight years. He was born in 1948 in Grand Rapids, MI. Dave was the oldest of seven children in a large Polish American family. He graduated from Catholic Central High School where he met the love of his life Judith, “Judi,” Cychosz, whom he wed in 1972. In 1970, he was drafted by the US Army and deployed to Vietnam. He was wounded, and for his bravery and service to his country he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. After the war, he continued to lead a full, satisfying life graduating from Grand Valley State College in 1976 and moving to the Upper Peninsula with his wife in the same year to work as a planner for CUPPAD. Dave and Judi raised 4 children. Until his death, he remained a regular at his local trap club and a longtime member of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. He served as Masonville Township zoning administrator for nearly 40 years.
Dave’s love of nature saw him traverse North America, hunting caribou in Alaska, fishing in Michigan and Florida among others, foraging for mushrooms in fall, and boiling maple syrup in spring. His natural wisdom will live on in his children and grandchildren. He will especially be remembered for his sense of humor, encyclopedic knowledge of the outdoors, handyman skills, competitive cribbage playing, his treasured kielbasa recipe, and his willingness to contribute to any project. His legacy will be the integrity and honesty that he brought to both work and play, and his inexhaustible generosity and empathy for family and friends.
He is survived by his loving wife of almost 50 years, Judi, his four children and their spouses, Jennifer and James Nelson, Emily Bonczyk, Patrick Bonczyk PHD, Christopher and Katie Bonczyk; grandchildren Sidonie Fraley, Nicklas, Shaun and Maizie Nelson, Adeline and Eleanor Bonczyk, Blaise Young and Naylanie Reese; six brothers and sisters and their spouses, a sister-in-law and brother-in-law and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent and Martha Bonczyk, his parents-in-law, Ben and Victoria Cychosz, and a granddaughter, Bailey.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, August 12 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Friday, August 13 at 11:00 AM at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Rapid River with Fr. William Ssozi officiating. Military Honors will follow and be presented by the Rapid River American Legion Post 301. A luncheon will follow in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County, PO Box, 775, Escanaba, MI 49829
Mass link: https://vimeo.com/588468045
Military Honors: https://vimeo.com/588531723