Emil Bonagura

Emil Bonagura born March 20th, 1924 passed away Sunday, March 14th, 2021.


“Bon” as he was sometimes called, lived in Kendall Park on Pyne Road which had recently been designated “Bonagura Way” for his distinguished service in WWII where he earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He is survived by his sister Rosemary Bonagura of Hicksville, Long Island, his wife Veronica (nee Prestigiacomo) and children: Debra Boyle, Robert and Gregory. His grandchildren include: Gregory, Robert, Casey & Darla Bonagura and Amy, Stephen, Chad & Taylor Boyle.


Emil was a career auditor with the Continental Insurance Company but a lover of the outdoor life, Emil was an avid sportsman, fisherman, hunter and camper.  After moving to Kendall Park from his and his wife’s family seats in Brooklyn, NY, Emil led his own family in pursuit of all these activities.  Later he even inspired his youngest Gregory to join him in his after-hours refereeing of local amateur hockey. 


You can’t talk about Emil’s love of the outdoors without turning to his love of good food.

Beginning with a discerning palate which he shared with his young wife, Bon and Ronnie were irrepressible gastronomes sampling the variety of ethnic venues in the greater New York City area frequently from the front seat of their car.  Over the years they took their children everywhere with them.


No season deterred the Bonaguras from a thrifty outdoor feast.  In the 1960s-70s, the open hatch at the back of the family station wagon was the perfect setup for the Coleman stove, tailgating in the parking lots of Pocono ski slopes or the Jersey shore.  Emil and Veronica even perfected their own version of the new McDonald’s, Big Mac--if you thought you could pay any price for a better meal than that, you didn’t know Ron & Bon!


Emil will be missed by his fellow vets at VFW Post #9111 South Brunswick in Franklin Park. Emil was a repeat trustee of the post for nearly 15 years.  He was a devoted committee judge on two interscholastic writing competitions, Patriot Pens in the Middle Schools and Voice of Democracy in the high schools where students write papers based on what they learned from presentations by vets on the military’s role in protecting democracy at home and abroad.


A 15 minute video of Emil Bonagura’s WWII experience is available at the Veterans History Project online at: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.51358/mv0001001.stream