Obituary: LCdr Gordon A. Bonnel, USN (ret)
February 16, 1938 — November 23, 2014
Gordon Alan Bonnel, “Gordy,” was born February 16, 1938 and passed away November 23, 2014.
Gordy was a U.S. Naval Academy Graduate, class of 1960. He served as a naval aviator retiring in 1981. He flew the S-2 Tracker (Stoof ) in squadrons VS-39 and VS-27 aboard the USS Forrestal (CVA-59).
His specialty was anti-submarine warfare operating in European, Caribbean and East Coast waters. He also flew the C-1 carrier-based transport aircraft (COD) and did a tour as catapult and arresting gear officer aboard the Forrestal. He served as a primary flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida training recruits to fly and solo their first aircraft.
Upon retirement from the Navy, Gordy organized a fraternal organization of former S-2 and C-1 pilots and other aircrewmen (Worldwide) known as Real Aviators Flew Stoofs (RAFS), holding reunions all over the country. His database of over 6,000 veterans will be donated to the Library of Congress.
An adventurer, Gordy rode an 11,000 mile, 5 week motorcycle trip around the USA during his last year in the Navy. He and his wife Nancy lived on a houseboat on the California Delta and in San Francisco Bay, while he worked at Alpine Skills International as a handyman, cook, telemark instructor and assistant guide. He parked cars and shoveled decks at Donner Ski Ranch, formed an investment club, played the stock market, been crew and cook aboard a U.S. Geological Service river tug in Alaska, all while fulfilling a boyhood dream of building a log cabin in the Sierra Nevada with his wife Nancy.
After many years of felling, peeling and notching logs they completed construction and lived in the cabin year round for 10 years on 20 acres at 7200 feet.
Gordy met Nancy in Puerto Rico and after 20 years of dating, they were married in 1998 in a Mexican bar, Casa Baeza, after two pitchers of Margaritas.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, two sons, Gordon Jr. and Shawn, two daughters, Kelly and Joanna, 10 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and two nephews. Gordy lived life to the fullest and then some, an original Renaissance man.
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