Saturday, April 11, 2015
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
Traverse Bay United Methodist Church
1200 Ramsdell Rd.
Traverse City, MI 49684
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Peter John Bonjernoor, 64 of Lake Ann, died Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
Celebration of Peter's life will be held 12 noon, Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the Traverse Bay United Methodist Church. The family will greet friends starting at 11am. A full obituary will be in the Sunday, April 5th edition of the Record Eagle. In lieu of flowers please send contributions to Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation, P.O. Box 241, Harborcreek, PA 16421. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City.
Lorna Bonjernoor written words
Pete was born in Grand Rapids, MI. He has one brother, Jim and two sisters, Ellen and Linda. His Mom, Sylvia, was a seamstress and homemaker. His father, John Bonjernoor was a sporting goods salesman who taught Pete the love of hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors. There were always samples in the garage so Pete and his brother, Jim could try them out. He spent more time fishing but Jim seemed to catch more fish. As a family, they went camping as long as there was fishing involved.
His father bought him his first shot gun to go Pheasant hunting with his uncle, cousin, and dogs. It was a single shot shotgun but begged for a pump action like his cousin had. He quickly learned to shoot accurately and when His Uncle took them out pheasant hunting, his cousin would shoot and shoot, missing a lot, getting mad when Pete would take a careful aim and get the bird almost every time with one shot.
Grab a fishing pole after school and go fishing with his best friend.
Pete worked as a janitor in their church and then at a fast food restaurant. He worked for a company that resurfaced floors in grocery stores, trimmed fruit trees, and one summer, built seawalls with his friend Jim, on Lake Michigan.
He owned a 550 motorcycle and loved to ride. He had a blue leather jacket and long hair down the middle of his back.
Pete loved to travel and after high school, went out to Colorado to work on a cattle ranch with friends. They learned the hard way not to drink the water straight out of the stream. He also went with a friend to Oregon, where they rented horses, a pack mule and rode into the mountains on a camping adventure. That trip was cut short when the rangers tracked them down to let him know his Dad had passed away, so back to Grand Rapids he went. Not long after, his Mother had surgery for a brain tumor. His sister, Linda and her husband, Bill were living with her while she recovered and then Pete moved in to help, too. His Mom was a wonderful woman with a great sense of humor even though the tumor left her handicapped. He was so sad when she passed away and devastated when he lost Linda a few years later.
One night, Pete walked into a bar with his friends that had a blue grass band. There was a group of girls at the table next to them. One girl had hair as long as his and he asked her to dance. Her name was Lorna Jenkins and every Wednesday, they would dance to blue grass music. They became inseparable. They took a three month trip out west and brought his dog Moksha, camping, driving an old Valiant with a crunched in bumper and car top carrier loaded down. From Colorado down to the Grand Canyon, where they hiked down, stayed overnight, and hiked up the next day. He never left Lorna, patiently coaxing her on as she complained and begged to be left behind, the whole nine miles up. From there to Utah, hiking trails, over to California, up to Washington, where they met with his brother, Jim and cut firewood for a few weeks, to replenish their money to keep travelling. They travelled over 12,000 miles that summer and when they returned to Grand Rapids were married on October 11, 1975.
With marriage, he found himself surrounded and included with all of Lorna’s large family. He now had four more brothers and four more sisters, with all their spouses, who welcomed and teased him and treated him like a brother. It took him awhile to understand their closeness and accept it but they won him over. Added to it all the nieces and nephews who adored him.
Pete and Lorna moved up to Traverse City in 1976 after a trip there to try cross country skiing. They decided they could work anywhere but wanted to be closer to hunting and fishing. Once a year, they took hiking trips out west. He worked on an oil drilling rig, several lumber companies, and then got hired to build houses. He then went off on his own and built his first house. His Father in Law came up every weekend to help along with Lorna’s brothers. After they moved in, he built a corral and bought two horses. They went on trail rides and horse campouts. They had the horses for eighteen years and during that time Lorna’s sister, Barb and brother, Rich gave them a pony for the kids to ride. As soon as the boys were able, they rode, too. Everyone that came to visit was treated to a ride on the horses if they wanted, either in the corral or on a trail. Pete would spend hours walking them around or riding with them. All the nieces and nephews got a ride if they wanted and many times he patiently walked for hours if Brett and Scott brought their class out on a field trip.
His love of hunting expanded from deer and pheasants to turkeys, geese, and ducks. He taught himself to shoot archery so the hunting season was longer. He and Lorna learned to canoe and cross country ski. Went camping and hiking and enjoyed nature. It was always in a tent because you couldn’t pull a trailer and a boat and the boat always won.
In 1983, his first son, Brett was born and to a man who was never around babies, became devoted wanting to teach him everything and do everything with him. At age four, Brett went with Pete goose hunting, helping Pete collect the geese out of the field. In 1986, Scott was born and Pete couldn’t be happier. Over the years, he taught them to hunt and fish. They taught Pete about T-ball, baseball, and soccer. Being an outdoorsman he didn’t have time to develop those sports in his younger years but now he was dedicated to his sons, practicing with them and attending every game. He coached when there wasn’t one and umpired when needed. He loved being with them. He would drive four hours down to Albion where Brett went to college, to watch his soccer game and drive home. Seldom missing one. Vacations soon became spent going to soccer tournaments, once with Scott’s team out to Minnesota. He was so proud of them, he couldn’t get enough.
Pete loved being his own boss building houses. After years of straddling trusses and working in the cold, he moved indoors and became a trim carpenter. He did beautiful work and honed his skills with the help of his good friend and neighbor, Rodney. With Rodney’s extensive workshop and tools, they did incredible work. Everyone he teamed up with became a friend and added another dimension to his skills. He enjoyed working with Geoff, Mark, Adam, and Ob and each one provided a bond that lasted well past the job.
He bought an outfitters tent with his friend, Clint and hunted deer in a remote spot in the UP. It was what he loved, getting far away from other hunters even though it was a lot of work. They hunted there for years, sometimes unblocking the beaver dam that flooded their road on the way in. Then spending a day cutting firewood for the wood stove they had for heat and cooking before spending all day in the woods hunting.
He bought in on a rustic cabin in the UP with his good friend, Pokey. That added yet another season to hunting- bear. It also added yet another group of good friends he met up there. He brought Brett and Scott and together they learned how to do it. The stream fishing was fantastic up there and was thrilled one year to take his high school fly fishing buddy, Bob with him. Other trips Pete, Pokey, and Jill would go out to fish every evening and come back happy. There was riding the trails on a quadrunner and collecting rocks. It was a very special place for him.
He had several good friends to hunt with besides his sons and went on big hunts out west, to North Manitou Island, and with an outfitters tent to a remote spot in the UP.
His friends meant everything to him and would spend hours with them. A day on the lake wasn’t just a couple hours, it was all day even when nothing was biting. He loved fishing all species of fish and all manners of fishing be it on a lake or a river, summer or winter, he did it all with, of course his friends but always wanting Lorna there, too. She enjoyed fishing but not the all day trips, certainly not in winter, and caught more trees on the riverside than her line made the water. So he spent time with Jerry, Clint, Mark, Pokey, Jill, Bob, Brett, Scott, and many more friends.
Pete and Lorna went to Wyoming on a backpack trip into the Wind River Range to fly fish with Johnny, Jackie, and Ray, catching so many fish they had to single out one person to keep their fish for supper and throw the rest back. It was a fabulous trip along the Continental Divide and they only saw a hand full of people the entire week.
He went with Clint out to Colorado with Johnny to hunt Elk and almost got struck by lightning. He didn’t always get his game but it was the journey that was special and he was prepared. He practiced with whatever weapon on targets and was a good shot, had the right gear and maps. With all that prep work, Lorna’s job, besides sending along frozen meals to be sure he’d eat, would be to remind him to buy a license, never understanding how he could forget that.
Pete spent many hours planning trips, scouting game, collecting bait, taking trips, or reminiscing all matters about hunting and fishing. Always a story to tell about a trip he went on or how to hunt and the guys would gather and talk for hours. He took up riding a bicycle to get in shape for a trip. Pete and Lorna rode all the wonderful trails in the area so by the time of the trip, he was in good shape.
He had three boats and a canoe and like his father, vacations needed some fishing and camping involved. Pete and Lorna would go to her family reunion and he would spend the weekend with his brother in law, Tom, salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, getting back the second day in time for the reunion or at least in time for food. It was special to him to have a family member that was as obsessed with fishing as he was. They became close buddies and he was devastated at Tom’s passing.
When he got the cancer diagnosis, he wanted to fight it. He was willing to try chemo to spend more time with Lorna, Brett, and Scott. Even though the doctors didn’t give him much time, he wasn’t ready to just give up. He had more hunts to go on and he missed out on this year’s gun season. They prayed about it and forged ahead.
Pete got the bonus of reconnecting with his cousins and spending time with his sister, Ellen. Lorna’s sister Barb came up once a week, the last few months, to hang out with Pete while Lorna worked. He trusted her with his care and they were very close. Carla and Mike were a great source of support as well as many other family and friends. His cousin, John started coming up to help with Carla and Mike and was a hub of activity Pete welcomed. He was surrounded by his friends and family on his last night. He slipped quietly away on his sister, Linda’s birthday. We think she called him home.
Scott Bonjernoor written words
The most I remember of my father is what he taught us. He wasn't one to do things for us, but he would show us how to do things. How to tie on a fishing hook, how to change the oil on a car, how to find the perfect spot in the woods come deer season. He was a wealth of knowledge and loved teaching his boys 'how to.' We had a good relationship, even when living hours apart we spoke almost every day, and I consulted with him in every important decision in my life. He was my father, mentor, hunting buddy, and we spent countless hours hunting, fishing, and scouting. In the spring we chased turkeys, riding around in the evenings weeks before season trying to figure out their daily habits and come season we would spend all day going from field to field sneaking through the bushes and grass hoping to hear a gobble. As fall approached we spent our time around traverse wandering the woods looking for deer sign, and when we could escape to the cabin the bears were all we thought about (when he wasn't running into a stream with a fishing pole).
My favorite memories are from the many hunting trips we took, from a canvas tent in November to the cabin in the fall, even the occasional casino lodging hunts, I Never took much convincing to go along. As a teenager I began going with him to 'deer camp' (a trip he had been going to for years with his good friend Clint) which was a canvas tent on state land in Iron County MI and a lot of warm clothes. The first year I got to go I was 15, over the course of a week and as we sat together in our blind the ground went from covered in leaves to two feet of snow, after waiting patiently for days a big doe stepped in front of us and i was able to take my first deer. It is still hard to say who was more excited between the two of us. Over the next few years I would return with him and explore on my own to see the same look of pride and excitement when I would return dragging a deer. December 2013 my Dad left deer camp feeling he needed just a few more days to bag the buck he had been chasing. After returning to Traverse City, he began the simple task of convincing me to drop everything and head out for the late season Muzzle-loader hunt. We only needed a couple days to prepare and we were off to the west side of the U.P. Unknown to us, it was the beginning of a frigid winter storm known as the polar vortex. For nine days we sat in below 0 temperatures, stuffing our boots, gloves, and shirts with hand warmers, to only get a brief glimpse of a monster buck. Even though he didn't bag the buck he was intent on finding, he enjoyed every chilled moment of time with his son doing (or least trying to do) what he loved.
Brett Bonjernoor written words
My Dad was the type of person that worked non stop. I never realized it growing up but from the time he got up until the time he went to bed he stayed busy. Now that I am trying to play grown up, I realize how impressive his motivation really was. He lived for his family but would take any chance he could to play outdoors. I loved imitating everything he did. I always wanted to dress like he did, act like he did, and do what he did. My first memories of hunting were when he took me goose hunting with his friends. Hunting spots were competitive amongst other hunters. One morning we were set up in a field before sunrise and another hunter tried setting up next to us. The problem was the overspray from some of his shots we could hear raining down on our decoys. Before we went home my dad was sure to say, “don’t tell your mom!” It definitely wasn’t the last time he told me that. My dad was always looking for an adventure. The outdoors was his playground which he appreciated more than most. Goose hunting was just the beginning of the hunting experiences we shared together. One of my favorite things was tracking deer with my dad after he shot one. Every night he went bow hunting I would sit impatiently waiting to see his headlights pulling in so I could ask if he took a shot. When he did, he would always try and keep a straight face. But he could never hold back an obvious smirk for long and answer, “well ya.” He became a member of a bear hunting club/cabin North of Marquette with his good friend Pokey. Like everything else in his life he contributed more than his share. Also like everything else in his life he included his sons. He taught both my brother and I, all possible aspects to bear hunting. He never had a problem roughing it and always enjoyed the solitude. When we went deer hunting in the upper peninsula we stayed in an army tent with a wood stove because the weather was often single digits with multiple feet of snow on the ground. That never swayed him to stay in a hotel because he always preferred the isolation.
Hunting and fishing wasn’t the only things my father enjoyed sharing with his sons. He always tried to better our lives any way possible. He helped me purchase my first house which required remodeling. And by remodeling I don’t mean fresh paint and a couple new light fixtures. We completely gutted a 2500 square foot home and replaced everything top to bottom. It was always obvious how much pride my father carried in his work and how much energy he put into everything he did. I had to work my other job until 6:00pm so he would work at my house all day and then when I got there to work the evening, he would stay and work with me into the night. The house turned out unbelievable and I owe it all to him. I would have never been able to do it without him by my side…or vise versa because that’s how most the projects were completed. He never complained or billed me for his time. He was very selfless and allowed me to keep all the sweat equity even though he did most the work.
I will be forever grateful that my brother and I were able to take my father on one last hunting trip to Texas after we found out he was sick. He had never shot an elk even though he had gone on a couple previous elk hunts so to be able to fulfill one last dream for him was an unexplainable feeling. The elk itself was never the trophy but the experience was. And it was an experience I will cherish forever. My father had given me so much over his lifetime so it was incredible to finally give him something back that we will all carry with us forever. Sharing that experience will help me get through the pain of not having him. Those are the type of experiences that can help fill the emptiness of him being gone. Remembering his face as he sat on top of his elk will ease the pain of missing him and lift us through the dark times ahead. So many incredible experiences we shared that make him unforgettable and for always my dad…never to be replaced