March 29, 1928 – August 16, 2014
Kurt peacefully left us on August 16, 2014. Although he experienced diminished health in recent years, he remained interested in life and people. Left to mourn are Irene – his wife of 50 years, with whom he had a deep bond, daughter Kathy (Brad), son Mike (Ann) and grandchildren Cameron and Miranda. Surviving siblings are Heinz, Waldi, Helga and Dieter, all of the Nanaimo area, whose continued participation in Kurt’s life has been extremely valuable. He will be greatly missed.
Maps, history, ham radio, photography (with his own dark-room), gardening and reading were some of Kurt’s great interests. He did everything methodically and well. Given the opportunity, he could have been a history professor. His academic recall remained phenomenal to the end.
Kurt was born and raised in western Poland, but the years of World War II changed the path of the Bonkowski family. Kurt’s parents operated a farm, and sacrifices were made for him to attend high school in a nearby city. The war intervened and Kurt never did graduate, though he has been a life-long learner. Sponsored by his Aunt and Uncle Wende, he arrived in Canada in 1949 at age 21, the first of his family to emigrate. He went to work in the woods and logged until he became a Canadian citizen. He then he found work with Canada Post, beginning as a letter carrier and retiring as a postal clerk in 1988.
Retirement years were immensely enjoyed, and Kurt and Irene were rarely apart. They travelled modestly, kept active with church and friends and of course stayed very involved in their childrens’ lives. Kurt even learned to use a computer and the internet!
It was also a privilege for Kurt and Irene to share a home for many years in South Wellington with his parents, Ferdinand and Else. The entire Bonkowski clan on Vancouver Island has shared much together over the years. Kurt also made it a priority for the family to visit Irene’s relatives regularly in the Okanagan. Kathy and Mike are thankful for those trips, as well as yearly camping trips to Rathtrevor Beach, and also for Kurt’s role in encouraging our musical gifts and other interests, and most importantly for teaching us the love of God.
The family thanks the wonderful and excellent staff at Nanaimo Seniors Village for Kurt’s care during the past three and a half years, and also thanks Dr. Roe for his skill and compassion.
We wish to honour his life with a memorial service on Saturday August 30, 2014 at 1:00pm, at Maranatha Foursquare Gospel Church, located at 6553 Portsmouth Rd, Nanaimo, BC. All are welcome.