by David Crane
I literally just found out about this. Joe Bonar was killed recently in a car accident that was, from reports we’ve heard, caused by another driver. Thank God Joe’s young son, who was in the car with him at the time, only suffered minor injuries, (again, according to reports).
Joe was a master gunsmith, the top pistolsmith at Novak’s Inc., and one hell of a nice guy.
Joe was particularly a master of the 1911 pistol. Joe knew his way around a 1911 like few other men. He even helped build a custom Browning Hi-Power for yours truly awhile back, and always made time for me whenever I called the shop, long after my gun was built and shipped. If I had a question, Joe was happy to answer it. He was also happy to just talk guns.
When you spoke with Joe, you always had the feeling that he was happy to talk to you. It’s as if he talked with a smile on his face.
It’s strange that I only actually met Joe face-to-face for the first and only time at SHOT Show 2002 in Las Vegas. I met Joe, Wayne Novak, Gary Paul Johnston, and Wiley Clapp all at the same time at Novak’s booth at the very tail end of the show. This was after years of speaking with him on the phone. So, when I finally met him in person, I felt like I already knew him. Of course, he smiled a lot as he spoke to me. I remember thinking, "this is a good guy".
I am deeply, deeply saddened by his very premature passing. I grieve not only for him, but also for his five children, the rest of his family, his co-workers, and his close friends. Joe is irreplaceable, and not just as a pistolsmith. It’s truly a tragic loss.
God bless him. I will miss him greatly.