James “Jim” L.
Bonfield, 69, of Chesterton, Indiana, passed away on Monday, July 20, 2015,
having been involved in a tragic motorcycle accident near Jasper, Arkansas.
Jim was born in
Michigan City, Indiana on August 9, 1945, to Joseph and Elena Bonfield (Mazzaia).
He graduated from Elston High School and continued his education at
Indiana-Purdue University in South Bend. He then joined the Indiana State
Police academy as a member of the 24th Recruit Class in 1967.
Jim was married to
his loving wife Karla Renee Bonfield (Nallenweg) on April 22, 1978; they
were married for 37 years. He is survived by his wife Karla and three
children, Kristine (Elias) Zikkos of Kouts; Mark (Ronda) Bonfield of Fort
Collins, Colorado; and Matthew (Megan) Bonfield of Brownsburg. He is
survived by six grandchildren, Jacob, Zackery, Andrew, Ryen, Gianna, and
Leah. He is survived by two sisters, Joan (James) Jarka of Michigan City,
and twin sister Janet (Al) Todd of Stevensville, Michigan.
Preceding Jim in
death include both of his parents and brothers Richard (Sharon) Bonfield of
Placentia, California, and Daniel (Judith) Bonfield of Michigan City.
Jim’s dedication to
public service and safety led him to become the Director of Transportation
for the Duneland School Corporation for the past 13 years, having retired as
a Sergeant for the Indiana State Police after 35 years of service in 2002.
He held a variety of positions while with the State Police, including
trooper, criminal investigator, forensic data analyst, and participated in
joint duties with the FBI, ATF, U.S. Secret Service, and various other
federal agencies. Among the highlights of his ISP career, he spearheaded the
HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) task force in coordination with
the DEA in Lake County, Indiana; he was an integral part of the Kirkley Task
Force, helping bring to justice David Malinsky in the murder of Chesterton
resident Lorraine Kirkley; and he was a part of numerous U.S. Presidential
Security details, including having his photograph taken and published while
shaking the hand of then-President Bill Clinton.
Jim was an active
member of St. Patrick’s Church in Chesterton for over 37 years, serving as
an usher every Sunday for mass. He was a true man of faith. He was loving,
selfless, a man of integrity, and a respectful husband, father, and friend
to so many. He enjoyed nothing more than helping friends and neighbors
relentlessly, whether it meant shoveling snow from their driveways, mowing
their lawns, or even helping them pay their bills. He considered his bus
drivers at Duneland as a part of his own family, fighting for their jobs and
overall well-being at literally every turn.
Jim was an annual
member of countless charitable organizations, ranging from medical research
to women’s shelters to local police organizations. He was active with the
local Boys and Girls club of Porter County, Cub Scouts, and State Park
Jim was an avid
motorcycle rider, and he looked forward to his annual vacation with his wife
and friends every summer on their Harleys. He loved taking photos while out
on his trips, sharing them with his friends and family after every
adventure, and he particularly loved to brag about traversing some of the
most challenging roads in the country while on his motorcycle rides. He also
enjoyed riding to and spending time in Colorado to see his son Mark along
with his wife and grandchildren.
Jim was especially
proud of his healthy lifestyle and dedication to physical fitness, even more
than a decade after retiring from the State Police.
Jim was a huge
sports fan and follower of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, and Notre Dame
football. But no team excited him more than his beloved Chicago Blackhawks.
He attended countless regular season and playoff games over the last several
years with friends and family, and was excited beyond words when they took
home the Stanley Cup in 2010, and then again in 2013 and 2015.
But above all, Jim
was the definition of a family man and loving husband. He gave his heart,
strength, and soul to his family at all times, and will be dearly missed by
all. He had a consummate love for his beloved wife Karla that will never be
duplicated. He was also exceptionally close with and will be sorely missed
by the entire Nallenweg family, including brothers-in-law Terry (Kay), Garry
(Mary), Glen (Heon), and Jeff (Sandy), deceased, along with Mary Beth
(Norman) Whitmer, numerous nieces, nephews, and mother-in law Fran and
father-in-law Karl. His granddaughter Leah will especially miss calling for
her “pops” more than he will ever know.
for Jim will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at St.
Patrick Catholic Church, 638 North Calumet Road in Chesterton. Visitation
with friends and family will take place at Edmonds and Evans Funeral Home,
517 Broadway in Chesterton, on Friday, October 16, 2015 from 4 to 8 PM, with
a wake service to be held at 7:30 p.m. Following the funeral mass on
Saturday, a Celebration of Life luncheon will take place at Chesterton
Middle School, 651 West Morgan Ave, around 1:00 p.m. A full lunch menu will
In lieu of flowers,
the family asks for donations to assist with Karla Bonfield’s continued
recovery expenses from the initial accident. Donations can be made directly
to Edmonds and Evans Funeral Home, with excess funds to be put towards a
James Bonfield Memorial Scholarship Fund.