David T. Bonk, 61, passed away on April 24, 2018 at his home in Pennington, NJ, after a courageous 10-month battle with kidney cancer. A Celebration of Life service will be held in David’s honor at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton, NJ, on Sunday, June 17, 2018, at 3:00 pm.
Born in Johnstown, PA, on August 10, 1956 to Concetta Bonk and the late Thomas G. Bonk, David graduated from Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown in 1974. In 1978, he graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a degree in political science. He earned his law degree at Columbia University School of Law in 1981 and was a member of both the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations.
After working in Manhattan law firms for several years, David settled in New Jersey and began his 33-year career as an attorney in the biopharmaceutical industry, first at Roche in Nutley, NJ, where he met his wife, Sharon McCrae. They married in December 1990. David then moved to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in Princeton, NJ, where he worked for 22 years before retiring as Vice President & Associate General Counsel in 2013. After retiring, David started a part-time consulting business that counseled clients on issues relating to regulatory law, business development, intellectual property, legislation and public policy. As a biopharmaceutical lawyer, David felt he was working to improve and save lives.
Semi-retirement gave David more time to pursue his other passions, which included playing the guitar, spending time outdoors, and traveling with his wife. He was most happy when he was with family and friends, either pursuing an outdoor activity or deep in conversation over a good meal. He loved the Appalachian Trail and hiked hundreds of miles through several states over the years.
David was a devoted husband and father, a wise and compassionate leader, and a deep believer in an ethical and moral order. He also had a wonderful, quiet sense of humor, and never took himself too seriously. His keen interests in music, film, politics and history always sparked interesting conversations. He was a man of great integrity, heart and common sense, who always knew what to do and what to say in a difficult situation. He inspired trust in friends and colleagues alike.
As an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton for more than 20 years, David served on its Board of Trustees and volunteered in many capacities. He was also on the board of UU FaithAction NJ, where he was instrumental in creating a statewide, nonprofit network that advocates for public policy and legislation aimed at building a more just and compassionate society.
David is survived by his wife, Sharon McCrae; his son, André Bonk of Brooklyn, NY; his mother, Concetta Bonk of Johnstown, PA; his brother, Donald Bonk of Pittburgh and Johnstown, PA; and numerous nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
Memorial donations can be made to one of David’s favorite organizations: Save the Children, Sierra Club, or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.