Richard M. Bongers, age 78, of Neenah, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 26, 2021 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Rich was born on January 31, 1943 in Appleton, son of the late Richard T. and Marie A. (Van Nuland) Bongers. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of Vietnam from March of 1969 until March of 1970. He was honorably discharged as an E5 Sergeant. On Easter Sunday, April 11, 1971, he married Margot Wright, of Taylorville, IL, in West Chicago, IL. They joyfully celebrated 50 years of marriage earlier this year.
Rich was a devoted family man and especially treasured time with his grandchildren. He worked as an Educational Aide at Fox Valley Technical College for 29 ½ years where he fulfilled many roles. He enjoyed twenty wonderful years of retirement with Margot, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity – repairing and maintaining tools - for more than of ten of them, artfully maintaining his home, and helping others. He could fix anything and was extraordinarily generous with his time and talents. When asked how he knew how to fix something he would say, “I read it in a book.” A lifelong interest in trains led to a model train hobby in retirement that he enjoyed sharing with guests, especially his grandchildren. A defining moment in Rich’s life was taking part in the Old Glory Honor Flight out of EAA with other Vietnam Veterans in 2015.
Rich is survived by his wife and soulmate, Margot; his beloved son, Joseph (Desiree) Bongers; cherished grandchildren, Henry, Auden and Eleanor Bongers; his sisters, Joanne Driessen and Carmen (Bernie) Vedder; his sister-in-law, Marion Lamb; and nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers-in-law, Ronald Driessen and Donald Lamb, and his in-laws, Kenneth and Eva Wright.
The Funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 620 Division St., Neenah. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the mass. Military Honors will be conducted by the Neenah-Menasha Funeral Honors Team immediately following services. Interment will be in St. Margaret Cemetery. In lieu of flowers a memorial is being established for Old Glory Honor Flight. The family thanks staff at St. Elizabeth Hospital and Froedert Hospital for their care and effort on Rich’s behalf. For online condolences, please visit: www.kesslerfh.com.
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