Ronald A Bonigli, 80, of Braintree, MA, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, March 28, 2021. Born in Milton, MA he was the son of the late Joseph and Jennie (Cina) Bonigli. Loving husband of Janice (Corcoran) for almost sixty years, he leaves his children Ronald Bonigli and wife Barbara of Braintree, Donna Fleser and husband Christopher of Braintree, son Robert Bonigli of Braintree, and daughter Dianne Buehler and husband Mat of Blackstone, MA; and his seven grandchildren Christian, Cassidy, Ashley, Reagan, Christopher, Grace, and Kaitlyn.
Ronnie was dedicated to his beloved Lucky Strike Lanes Bowladrome in Dorchester, MA, where he worked for more than 50 years until his retirement in 2006. And fortunate for him, he was there the day Janice walked in to bowl a few strings. It was love at first sight for him. He assigned her to the lanes directly across from his counter so he could watch her bowl (and flick rubber bands at her - obviously, a sign of great affection!) That was the beginning of a relationship that endured for more than 60 years. They were married twice, first eloping in Hampton, New Hampshire in June of 1961, then three months later on September 4, 1961, in an official church ceremony at St Ambrose in Dorchester - just down the road from the bowling alley. Together they had four kids, seven grandkids, and countless family pets, many of which were allegedly “rescued from the pool” in the backyard by Janice.
He was an accomplished candlepin bowler, with a distinctive style, competing in, as well as hosting, many tournaments throughout his career. He also loved to golf and would spend his free Wednesdays chasing the ball with his fellow bowling proprietor friends.
Besides his family, of course, Ronnie often said he had three loves in his life: Cigars, good food, and cars. He would always have a cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth and a pack of Phillies Titans nearby. Some of the iconic cars he owned included a 57 Chevy Convertible, a 58 T-bird, and several Corvette models including a 1963 Stingray. He loved Corvettes so much that he had a baby seat custom-built into one model to accommodate his first-born child! From Lincolns to Cadillacs, his love affair with his current “baby”, as he called them, could match no other.
He was a dedicated worker but he managed to take one week off from work each year, which usually included a family road trip to the Cape or the mountains each summer. Vacations were all about food for him and he loved finding new restaurants. And he loved desserts! It must be true that “you are what you eat” because he was the sweetest man anyone has ever known.
He also loved gambling and practical jokes. Physically, Ronnie was a big guy, but he never overpowered a room. He would sit, unassuming in the background, listening to his gathered family, and often causing mischief by chucking a wadded up piece of paper at unsuspecting victims and feigning innocence when he got caught. He loved teasing his grandkids, including turning off the lights while they tried to use the bathroom. They would scream from inside the darkened room and he would chuckle as he hurried away from the scene of the crime.
He loved to give his grandkids lottery scratch tickets and was delighted to watch as they feverishly scratched off the silver coverings hoping to be the big winner of the day. And there was always a giant smile on his face as he doled out the cash prizes to the lucky winners of the day - often jokingly stating that he gets half the winnings!
Ronnie was generous, humble, kind, and decent. He touched the lives of so many people with his kindness and love of the community. He was a father-figure to countless kids in the Dorchester neighborhood for multiple generations of families. He was an early pioneer of the “every kid gets a trophy” movement as early as the 1970s because he wanted every child to feel special and be proud.
He never had to say “I love you” because, for him, it went without saying. These past few months, however, he said it to his family a lot, and it was extra special.
And it goes without saying that we love you too, dad. We love you too!
Services for immediate family only will be held at Peck Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. There will be no calling hours as the family wishes to keep the services private. Condolences can be sent to 20 Solar Ave, Braintree, MA 02184
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