Ilija (Eli) Bogonovich, (Bogunovic), 91, of Westmoreland City, passed away Tuesday, July 31, 2018 in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.
He was born February 9, 1927 in Biddle, a son of the late Rade and Jelena (Jelaca) Bogonovich, Serbian immigrants from Donji Lapac, Lika. Eli was a World War II veteran and served in the U.S. Eighth Army at Sagamo Prison in Japan between March 1946 and September 1947. He was trusted by the U.S. military to guard General Tojo and cabinet. Prior to his retirement, Eli was a tool & die maker for Extrusion Tool & Die. He was a former president of the Serbian National Federation Lodge 64, Biddle, Pa., and organized many Serbian picnics and events. Eli loved his family, church, gardening/yard work, bowling, singing and listening to Serbian music. He was happiest when spending time at church and with family. He was very proud of his Serbian heritage and made sure that he passed the Serbian culture and Orthodox Christian religion onto his family. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Sylvia Felluca Bogonovich; siblings, Sofija Bertoluzzi, Jovanka (Joan) Vorkapic, Dusan (Buckey), Manda Maljan, Marija (Mary) Thomas, Milica (Gay) Hofer, Milkan (Mike), and one infant brother. He is survived by his three children, David Bogonovich and his wife, Judy, Renee Jovanovic and her husband, Rodoljub and Rebecca Fiorini and her husband, Caesar; five grandchildren, Brittany and Mark Lubinsky, Luke, Daniel, Mila and Emma. Friends will be received on Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the James W. Shirley Funeral Home, 176 Clay Pike, North Huntingdon. A Pomen service will take place at 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. in St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, Monroeville. Interment to follow in Penn Lincoln Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church or the American Cancer Society. The family would like to express their gratitude to his longtime caregiver, Sandy Blair and family, and also to the Veterans Administration. www.shirleyfuneralhome.com.
Originally published August 01, 2018.