Local veteran helped establish Pearl Harbor Survivors Association

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Ruth mattson Smiley Bonn.jpg
SO HAPPY TOGETHER—Ruth and Clarence Bonn were together for 59 years, until Ruth’s passing in 2002. Photo courtesy of the Mattson family
FAMILY—Smiley Bonn and family members gather for a photo. Photo courtesy of the Mattson family

Memorial services for Clarence “Smiley” Bonn will be held Monday, Aug. 28 at the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club in Marina del Rey.

Born in Mahnomen, Minn. on Nov. 26, 1919, Bonn, who was a Pearl Harbor Survivor, died at age 97 on Friday, July 28, 2017 at his Gardena home.

Memorial services for Clarence “Smiley” Bonn will be held Monday, Aug. 28 at the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club in Marina del Rey.

Born in Mahnomen, Minn. on Nov. 26, 1919, Bonn, who was a Pearl Harbor Survivor, died at age 97 on Friday, July 28, 2017 at his Gardena home.

While serving in the Army Air Corps as a Technical Sergeant, Bonn was stationed at Wheeler Air Field, Hawaii the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Wheeler Air Field was a primary target and site of the first attack by the Japanese on their way to Pearl Harbor.

Almost a decade after the end of the war in 1954, Bonn and 10 other World War II veteran Pearl Harbor survivors established the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, which went nationwide soon after and has been serving thousands of veterans and their families ever since.

Their website can be found at www.pearlharborsurvivorsonline.org. Bonn was the last surviving founding member of the association.

Bonn was known as a happy go-lucky fellow who always had a smile on his face, inspiring his nickname of “Smiley.”

Friends and family say his laughter always made others smile, including his wife Ruth Mattson with whom he spent 59 years until her passing in 2002.

Bonn spent most of his life after the war as a postal mail carrier until his retirement in 1962. In addition to his work, Bonn was very active in his community as a member of both the Gardena Elks Club and VFW Post 3261.

Family and friends will always remember Bonn for his unwavering sunny outlook on life, as well as the smiles and laughter that he brought into their lives. He will be greatly missed.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, interested parties make a donation in Clarence Bonn’s name to the two veterans organizations he supported: the Disabled Veterans of America and the American Legion.
Services for Clarence ‘Smiley’ Bonn

set for Monday in Marina del Rey

By Gary Luster

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