Frank Bonita

Photo: Margot Duane

Frank Bonita passed away on Saturday, August 2, 2008 in Oakland, California. He is survived by his wife Marilyn and his daughter Marisa.

Frank was a dear friend of Franziska and mine. We were married at Frank and Marilyn's home in Concord, CA in the summer of 2006. They opened their hearts to us as easily as they opened their home for that precious day.

Frank retired from his job a bit over a year ago and was literally having the time of his life visiting with friends, camping, and developing his Sprinter van to be the ultimate camping vehicle.

I had the pleasure many times to brainstorm ideas with him on topics as diverse as geodesic domes, water storage and lighting design. We shared many common interests and I frequently learned from his vast experiences. To say he was "handy" would be a serious understatement. He was skilled with many tools and materials and wholly unafraid to try something new and creative. I admired his many creations, and he was always happy to help me with my many projects.

"Frank lived balls-to-the-wall!" said my good friend Michael Marx, and I know it is true. Frank loved good food, good friends and good times. He was always willing to bring them all together whenever possible.

Frank was not shy about his feelings or his thoughts. He was as candid as he was joyful. You knew where you stood with Frank. I loved him, and I will miss him dearly for the rest of my life.

Photo: Margot Duane

Frank fell in love with Burning Man and the people who attend it. He was a beloved member of Camp Sunscreen for many years. He was a great contributor to many art projects, and was often found lending a hand at at one of Benny's Coolneon soldering parties.

One of Frank's favorite Burning Man stories is the time when a steel bracket broke while he was at Burning Man. He thought to himself that what he really needed was someone with a welding rig. He took one step into the road and at that same moment someone came wandering up the road saying "Welding! Anyone need Welding?" Instant serendipity. Knowing Frank was instant serendipity.

One of my favorite stories involving Frank was the time that he helped me with the Desert Nose project. I had written a program to help define the lengths of the struts, but after cutting 1500 feet of steel pipe, the nose project wasn't coming together. He sat down with me and I attempted to explain how my program worked. In the process of describing it the problem became apparent and after a simple fix, we recut about 9 struts, and the nose could then be completed. Frank and Marilyn spend many hours over a period of weeks helping me build the desert nose in my backyard. It was wonderful to have them both. Frank went on to design several lighting drivers for the desert nose project.

Franziska and I loved Frank and will always remember his warmth and generosity.

I believe we will all be lucky to die so well loved.

Howard Cohen
h o c o (at) t i m e f o l d (dot) c o m

Photo by Tom Davis