David Lopez Bonet passed away on March 6, 2019 in his dream home in Huson, Montana. He was born on December 21, 1948 to Joseph and Adelina Bonet in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he spent his childhood years. Upon graduating from James J. Ferris High School in 1966, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he spent 20 years building a distinguished military career. He fought in Vietnam in 1967-1968 and was a Helicopter Aerial Machine Gunner who flew over 120 missions and was shot down several times. Dave was the first Hispanic in the Marine Corps to make over 100 freefall parachute jumps and became a Naval Jumpmaster; he was also a member of the Navy’s Parachute Demonstration Team and was a Parachute Instructor at Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1973-1977.
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Among the many medals and prestigious awards he earned are the Air Medal, AirCrew Combat Wings, the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Accommodation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Medal, Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Navy Parachutist Wings. Dave retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service and worked in Washington, D.C. in support of many Naval and Marine Corps Aviation Programs and the Department of Defense. He was instrumental in assisting in the development of Aviation Chemical Defense Systems for helicopter pilots and aircrewmen. While working for the Department of Defense, under various government contracts, he developed training programs and plans for Navy and Marine Corps Aircraft Weapons Systems that were utilized during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts.
Dave met his wife Diane, while working in Washington, D.C., and after a near miss at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, they moved to Laurel, Montana. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree in Human Services from Montana State University-Billings, he worked as a counselor for children and recovering alcoholics. He enjoyed woodworking, fishing, golf and listening to jazz, spending time with his family and especially loved watching Allyson, his youngest daughter, grow up.
He is survived by his mother Adelina, his wife Diane, his children Desmonique, Caprice and son-in-law Jeff, David (D.J.) and daughter-in-law Alina and Allyson, as well as his grandchildren: Haleigh, Tyler, Kyle, Christian and Nicole Karina. He loved them all immensely and was happiest when his children and grandchildren were around him. He was very proud of all of their many accomplishments. Dave loved the mountains and his life in Montana with his wife Diane, whom he loved, adored and admired. He will be deeply missed by family and friends across New Jersey, New York, Florida, Montana and beyond.
Memorial service will be held at Smith Funeral Chapel in Laurel on March 15 at 12:30pm followed by interment, with full military honors, at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, Montana. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Missoula Food Bank in memoriam at www.missoulafoodbank.org.