Topic: R.I.P. Michael Bohonak, Jr.
Replies: 5   Last Post: May 25, 2019 6:04 PM by: wueagle86®
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R.I.P. Michael Bohonak, Jr.

Posted: May 25, 2019 10:31 AM

Obituary for Michael Bohonak Jr.

Michael Bohonak, Jr., 77, of Lancaster, SC passed away Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Carolina Continue Care-Pineville, NC. He was born July 8, 1941 in Pittsburgh, PA, a son of the late Michael Bohonak, Sr. and Anna Murin Bohonak.

A talented athlete, Mike left Pittsburgh in 1959 to attend Clemson University on a football scholarship. After an injury during his second year of play, he was asked by basketball coach, Press Maravich, to continue with a basketball scholarship. He became a starter on the Clemson basketball team and a member of the team who faced Wake Forest in the finals of the 1962 ACC Tournament in Raleigh, NC. Even though they lost, he won the heart of the daughter of one of the NC State football coaches, the start of an adventure that lasted for 57 years.
Prior to attending college, Mike had also been a talented baseball player. He continued playing baseball at Clemson and was recognized as one of the few athletes who lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. It was only as a young army officer that he picked up the game of golf, or he might have added a fourth sport to his record.

Mike graduated from Clemson in 1964 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. On June 27th, he married Noni McCullough Bohonak and soon started a life of service as an Infantry Officer at Ft. Benning, GA. After completing airborne school in 1965, he became a member of the newly formed 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) nicknamed the Air Cav or Air Cavalry. A new concept in warfare was to bring in troops rapidly by helicopter rather than jumping from airplanes. In November, the newly formed Airmobile division began a campaign against a heavily trained and well equipped unit referred to as the North Vietnamese Army ( NVA), later to be known as the battle of Ia Drang Valley. While he lost many of his friends in the heavy fighting between November 14 – 16, he was fortunate to have been selected to serve in the headquarters company whose leaders were directing operations. Mike’s replacement was killed only a few weeks after Mike returned to the United States.

After a second tour in Vietnam and a successful career including his time with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, NC, he had an opportunity to retire and enter his second stage of life as a civilian. Among his decoration and awards: Parachute Badge, National Defense Service medal, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster)k, Overseas Bars(4), Vietnam Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Service Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60 Device, Combat Infantry Badge, Meritorious Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), Overseas Service Ribbon(1), Senior Parachute Badge, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm.
In 1985, he had an opportunity to retire and join his wife at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster (USCL) as the basketball coach and instructor of basketball and baseball as well as special course to support freshman. After one successful year, USCL chose to discontinue basketball. He later became the golf coach of a newly formed golf team. He continued teaching golf and basketball, finishing his last basketball class only a week before entering the hospital. This put him close to his beloved Clemson where he renewed many of his friendships with Clemson players and classmates as well as finding new Clemson friends. He even renewed and formed friendships at the annual reunion of University of South Carolina and Clemson basketball players.

Entering the hospital for treatment of an infected toe, he was diagnosed with MERSA and other health problems. On March 12th, he entered the Atrium Hospital in Pineville and after several weeks of battle against MERSA, he no longer tested positive for MERSA and moved to the next phase of his recovery. No longer confined to bed in a small room, he had a large fourth floor room with a view from his bed that ranged from Carowinds to downtown Charlotte. He was regaining full use of his arms and legs and sitting up while facing a newly found Shingles infection which he fought against as he was preparing to move to a facility to concentrate of his physical recovery for a return to his home in Lancaster.

On May 17th, he enjoyed a visit with his brother, Bill, and sister-in-law, Patty. His youngest brother, Don, had predeceased him almost 3 years earlier. An avid hunter, Mike loved the outdoors and hunting with his many friends and family in Pennsylvania. His talks with Bill by phone about preparing for hunting this year had helped him through the difficult times in the hospital. His visit with Bill and Patty meant so much to him. The next day, he kept saying he was going home soon and not staying in the hospital. He watched NC State beat UNC in a baseball game on TV with Noni, dozing occasionally. Once he awoke to show his concern that a gate had been left open and his dog was going to go out through the gate that had been left open. He loved the 82nd Airborne chorus who often performed at NC State and the songs about “standing in the door” which he apparently was doing on Saturday. On Sunday morning, July 19, he was standing in the door and ready to follow his beloved dog Hootchie through the gate.
He loved his many pets but especially his late dog, Hootchie. He once said that he would hunt down and kill anyone who killed his dogs. When asked what he would do if someone killed his wife, he said he would call the police and let them handle it. A believer in the Rainbow Bridge, he crossed into Heaven with his many cats and dogs who were waiting for him at the Bridge, with Hootchie taking his place at his side.
He leaves behind his wife, Noni, and his dogs (Ziva, Starr, and Rubye) who will miss him and join him when God is ready for them. He leaves behind a large family and more friends than he knew. A special thanks to Lisa Enfinger, who became a sister and friend to Mike and Noni. Her help and friendship in life and death will continue with me.

Among his living relatives are Bill Bohonak and his wife Patty of Pittsburgh, PA. Also, his sister-in-law Cheryl Bohonak and Uncle John Bohonak of Pittsburgh, PA. He had special memories of his visits at Myrtle Beach with his Aunt Tootsie and Uncle Bob Johnson of Indiana. He was extremely proud of his nephews and nieces and cousins who have been a part of the life he loved. He had such good times with his hunting family and friends in Pennsylvania and always looked forward to talks with them and hunting. A special thanks to his nephew, Mike and his wife, who drove for 3 hours to West Virginia to help Mike finish the drive to Pennsylvania for his last hunting trip.

The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Lancaster Funeral Home. A memorial service will be conducted by Patricia McCullough Parker and Roy Parker. Burial will be later this year at Arlington Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Lancaster SPCA, P. O. Box 3042, Lancaster, SC 29721 in honor of Hootchie or to Clemson University Basketball for a memorial to be set up at a later date.

Notes to the family may be made at www.lancasterfunderalhome.com.
Lancaster Funeral Home & Cremation Service is serving the family of Mr. Bohonak.

If Mike could speak right now, he would say “Go Tigers!” and want everyone to wear orange for him.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Michael Bohonak Jr. please visit our Sympathy Store.

Re: R.I.P. Michael Bohonak, Jr.

Posted: May 25, 2019 10:54 AM

Praying for his Family and friends.

2019 white level member

“Let’s make the others want to be like us” Dabo Swinney!!
We’ll make it 4 fingers and two thumbs over the U of s_c.???????
This team is ready to grow, get better & peak the 1st week of January 2020!!
We will win our 4th National Championship at 15-0 making it 3 Championships over the last 4 years!

Re: R.I.P. Michael Bohonak, Jr.

Posted: May 25, 2019 1:05 PM

A Superman...I,too have believed in the Rainbow Bridge since seeing "The Hunt" on Twilight Zone...If my departed animals are not there waiting for me, i ain't crossing...

2019 white level member

Thx gopaws4 for sharing great obit for TiGER Michael, Jr.

Posted: May 25, 2019 1:10 PM

Offering A Crisp Clemson Military Salute in Honor.


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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!

Remember Mike from the basketball team during those years

Posted: May 25, 2019 5:31 PM

Condolences to family and friends

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Re: R.I.P. Michael Bohonak, Jr.

Posted: May 25, 2019 6:04 PM

Praying for the Bohonak family. Thank you to the Michael Bohonak Jr. and his family for service and self sacrifice serving our country.

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