Our Dad Heinz Bonkowski was born on May 3, 1931 in Friedrichsbruch, Poland. He was the forth of 9 children born to Ferdinand and Else Bonkowski, who were ethnic Germans living in Poland.
Dad spent his early years enjoying life on the family farm, he learned to speak Polish and Russian, and he and his family also endured the tragedies of WWII. At the end of the war, Dad’s family became refugees and were eventually settled in West Germany. Dad had several happy years living and working on the Bothmann’s farm in Reyershausen, and he often spoke of the wonderful baked goods Mama Bothmann made for him there. Dad always loved his baked goods.
In 1950, Dad joined his brother Kurt in Nanaimo, and they worked to help the rest of the family move to Canada. Dad and our Mom Lotti married in 1956, they welcomed daughter Susan in 1959 and son Mark in 1962. Despite their decision to eventually live apart, Mom and Dad enjoyed many happy years together and were reconciled at the end of Dad’s life.
In the early 1960’s, Dad joined his father-in-law John Passman and brother Waldi in the house painting business, and Dad took pleasure in pointing out the many buildings they had painted over the years. He worked incredibly hard, and this ensured that his family was well cared for, even after his death. This was very important to him, and source of great pride.
Dad was very proud of his kids Susan (Doug) and Mark (Marlene), his grandchildren Caitie, Em, Adrian, Jenni, Molly, and was so happy to welcome his great grandchild Kai. Dad loved his extended family, his church family at St. Paul’s Lutheran, and the many friends he made over the years. Over his life, he loved to spend family time on the boat, going on road trips, celebrating family occasions with a steak, prawns and garlic butter, or chinese food but always with baked goods and laughing together. Dad enjoyed a good game of bridge, having coffee with friends, singing Barbershop and also singing in the German Choir, and being a member of the German club. Dad was a very kind man, often helping others with a ride when they needed one. He was resilient and did not hold a grudge.
Over the past couple of years, Dad’s health began to decline and he was happy that Mark, Susan and their families worked closely together to help support him. In the end, he had great joy in being visited by all 5 grandchildren at once, with Mark, Marlene, Susan and Doug at his side, and he transitioned from this world with calm and peace on March 9, 2019. He took comfort from the visits of family, Pastor Fraser and Pastor Al.
Dad was predeceased by his parents Ferdinand and Else, infant siblings Leo, Paul and Edith, sister Trautchen and brother Kurt, and in-laws John and Helen Passman. In addition to his immediate family, Dad is survived by his siblings Waldi (Georgina), Helga, Dieter (Tina), sister-in-law Irene, and many nieces and nephews.
We will miss you Dad, Heinz, Grampa, Grandpa Heinz, GGpa for the rest of our lives.
A memorial service for Dad was held on March 16, 2019 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, please do a kind turn for someone, and enjoy a piece of cake and a coffee with a friend or family member. Dad would have liked that.