A light in our lives was extinguished on June 15, 2018 when Andrew Joseph Bonertz died unexpectedly. He was 28 and a new father.
Andrew was such a kind and caring soul. He was a protector who did not like bullies and would stand up to others when needed. He always watched out for his family.
As a child he followed his father around trying to learn everything and anything he could which is how he earned his nick name “Little Man”. From fixing cars, changing oil, and fixing go carts, Andrew could do it all. By the age of 7, he had already flown a plane.
Andrew was a gentleman who always helped out from opening doors to carrying groceries. He enjoyed Boy Scouts and earned an Arrow of Light award, which now hangs in his son’s room. He had no fear and would attempt anything. As he grew he learned to skate board, a past time that would endure into his adulthood, even when his skateboarding skills diminished he still managed to take the long board out for a ride. In High School he joined the ski club and learned to snow board. He graduated from East Hampton High School in 2008.
He was intelligent and loved history--particularly World War II--and would voraciously consume any Ken Burns documentary, often staying up all night watching war footage. His own history was important to him too, and he decorated the walls of his bedroom with old photos of East Hampton, where he grew up. He had a story for every corner and every backroad, and loved driving aimlessly for hours, reminiscing about his childhood and all the people who populated his life.
He lived in Nebraska--where his family was from--for three years during his childhood and he always felt at home there. He spoke fondly of the mid-west and was proud of the values he drew from the simple life he loved there.
But he found life to be simple and wonderful in his new home in East Hampton, NY too, where he built a beautiful home life for his new family, which included his two dogs, Joey and Frank, who he loved playing with.
Andrew expressed himself through art, mostly designing his own tattoos, which he would sometimes have professionally done and sometimes tattoo on himself. Being right handed, this resulted in a lot of tattoos on his left side. Each one held a special meaning to him, even if that meaning was silly or fleeting. He had recently gotten a rather large wolf tattoo on his hand, which he said represented overcoming adversity.
There was a soundtrack to Andrew’s life, and it was always playing. No matter what he was doing, there was a carefully curated song to go along with it. His tastes ranged from Waylon Jennings to Macklemore.
Being a father to his son Miller was the most important thing in Andrew’s life. He nick-named him “Bubba” and taught him how to blow raspberries and dance, bouncing up and down to all his favorite tunes. Miller brought so much joy to Andrew’s life in such a short amount of time.
Andrew was born October 25th in 1989 at Scott AFB in Illinois. He is survived by his partner Leigh Goodstein and his son Miller Joseph Bonertz born 6/28/2017 of East Hampton, NY; his parents Joseph and Susan Bonertz of East Hampton, CT; his sister Ashely Bonertz (fiancé Aaron Davis) of East Hampton CT; younger brother Brandyn Bonertz (Amanda Butler) and their son Bodhi born 4/2/2018 of Avon, CT. His Grandmothers Mary Ann Bonertz of Menominee NE and Marilyn Kinzel of East Haddam, CT; Uncles Timothy Bonertz (Pam Kline) of Yankton, SD; Paul Kinzel and his son Sam of Cherry Hill, NJ. Aunts: Wendy (Junior) St.Pierre of Yankton, SD; Catherine Jansen of Hartington, NE; and Valerie Ashely of Duxbury, MA; his cousins: Cody, Allison, Grace, Aspen Jansen of Hartington, NE; Nicholas and Alecia St. Pierre Yankton, SD, and John Luis and Benjamin Ashton of Spain.
Andrew was preceded in death by his Grandparents Allen Joseph Bonertz of Menominne, NE and James Henry Kinzel of Cherry Hill, NJ.
A prayer service was held on June 19 at Spencer Funeral Home. He will be cremated and his ashes interred with his grandfather in Nebraska according to his wishes. A celebration of Andrew’s life will be held at a later date in New York.
The family asks in lieu of flowers donations be made to a fund in the name of Miller Bonertz at Liberty Bank, 2 W High Street, East Hampton, CT 06424.