American Patriotic 10

Joseph Patrick Bonifate

March 17, 1947 ~ September 11, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old


Joseph Patrick Bonifate, 76, of New Buffalo, Michigan, died Monday, September 11, 2023.

His life began March 17, 1947, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four sons born to Morris and Margaret Bonifate. He married the love of his life, Jackie F. Elliott March 5, 2005, in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Joseph was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather.  He cherished his wife and spent every second with her that he could.  He had a sound compass for Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  He was a proud Vietnam veteran having served in the U.S. Navy from 1966 through 1969. Joseph received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with Fleet Marine Corps Combat Operations Insignia, three Bronze Stars, and a Vietnam Campaign Medal.  He was a volunteer firefighter and Chief of Police for the Town of West Mayfield, Pennsylvania.  He had a caring and compassionate heart.  He loved to cook Italian food and was known for his potato salad.  Joseph had a great, but dry, sense of humor.  His “dad jokes” were top notch.  He was Daddy to his late furbaby, Cambria. He was a devoted Steelers fan.      

Joseph will be greatly missed by family and friends.  He is survived by his wife of eighteen years, Jackie Bonifate of New Buffalo; children, Robert Jones of Michigan City, Indiana, Kristie (Ted) Pirkel of Three Oaks, Julia Lear of New Buffalo, James (Jessica) Lear of LaPorte, Indiana, Joel (Sydney) Lear of Hartford; seven grandchildren, Victoria Pirkel, Daniella (Jonathan) Burns, Brady Stambaugh, Wesley Pirkel, Jason Pirkel, Nova Lear, Luna Lear; great granddaughter, Charlotte; brothers, John (Gloria) Bonifate, James (Kimberley) Bonifate, both of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; two sisters-in-law, Verdean Fleck of Lehigh Acres, Florida, Jetta Masters of Three Oaks; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Gerald Bonifate.

Family and friends will gather Thursday, September 14, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. until time of service at 6:00 p.m. in Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel, 106 Ash Street East, Three Oaks.

Mr. Bonifate will be laid to rest in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, Friday, September 15, 2023 at 11:30 a.m., where he will be accorded full military honors.

The family prefers contributions in memory of Joseph be made to the family, to assist in defraying expenses, in care of Wagner Family Funerals, 106 Ash Street East, Three Oaks, Michigan 49128.  

Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel, Three Oaks. Please share a memory or a message online:

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Patrick Bonifate, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Joseph Patrick Bonifate?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Joseph's memory.


September 14, 2023

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel
106 Ash Street East
Three Oaks, MI 49128

Funeral Service
September 14, 2023

6:00 PM
Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel
106 Ash Street East
Three Oaks, MI 49128

Graveside Service
September 15, 2023

11:30 AM
Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan


© 2023 Wagner Family Funerals. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility