Melvin Lee Bonikowske, age 73, of Manawa, went to his heavenly home on Sunday, October 20, 2013.
He was born on February 3, 1940, in the Town of St. Lawrence, Waupaca County, son of the late Elmer and Clara (Gregorius) Bonikowske. Mel graduated from Little Wolf High School. He joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1957, serving in active duty during the Berlin Crisis. While in the service, he attended the U.S. Army Ordinance School in Aberdeen, Maryland. He graduated as an honor student in Recovery and Evacuation. He was honorably discharged in 1965. He enjoyed hunting, especially deer hunting with his sons and friends, fishing and archery. He was a member of the American Legion having served as Commander and Adjutant. Mel was also a member of the Union Thresherman’s Club for many years serving as President for one year. He was a longtime member of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Symco before joining St. Paul Lutheran Church in Manawa. He served as an Elder in both congregations.
He married Delores Henschel in 1960 and together they had 4 sons: Bryan (Debbie), Manawa; Boyd, Iola; Elmer (Mary), Ogdensburg; Bart (Wendy), Scandinavia. Delores preceded him in death in 1975. He then married Ann Meshnick in 1976, and they had 4 children: Jill (Eric) Seka, New London; Julie (Jesse) Hass, Appleton; Dr. Gregory (Dr. Mandy), Waukesha; Joel (Jessie), Manawa; 12 grandchildren: Jeremy and Kristina Bonikowske, Amber Van Allen, Justin Bonikowske, Ashley Beilfuss, Vincent and Clara Bonikowske, Brenna and Brooke Bonikowske, Kaden Bonikowske, Kensley Seka, Zoey Bonikowske; 5 great grandchildren: Javen and Trayden Van Allen, Suri and Alana Beilfuss and Karstyn Buelow; 3 brothers: Robert (Eloyious) Bonikowske, Manawa; David (Marge) Bonikowske, Ogdensburg; Roger (Betty) Bonikowske, Manawa; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Joyce Carey, Kimberly; Gloria (Tom) Vander Heyden, Combined Locks; Georgie (Merlin) Becker, Manawa; Ray (Carol) Meshnick, New London; Norb (Marlene) Meshnick, New London; Mary (Rich) Davis, Los Angeles, CA; Peter Meshnick, Neenah; Mark (Kathy) Meshnick, Neillsville. He is further survived by cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Besides his parents and first wife, he was preceded in death by 2 sisters and 1 brother.
The funeral service for Mel will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Manawa with Rev. Vilas Mazemke officiating. Burial will be in Union Cemetery in Symco, where full Military Honors will be held. A visitation for Mel will be held on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 4-7 p.m. at the Cline-Hanson-Dahlke Funeral Home in Manawa and on Thursday at the church from noon until the time of the service. Assisting the family with the arrangements is Cline-Hanson-Dahlke Funeral Home, Manawa, www.clinehansondahlkefuneralhomes.com