Many impacted by death of longtime resident impacts many

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Jack Bonaker, a well-known accountant who contributed his time and professional skills to making Craig a better place to live, died Monday morning at his home. He was 59.

Bonaker died of complications from a longstanding bout with hepatitis C. Bonaker and his business partner and wife, Missy, would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this July.

"He was very easy-going and quiet guy," Missy said. "He was a perfectionist in a good way. Things had to be just right."

Jack and Missy Bonaker were business partners and accountants who operated Bonaker & Associates CPAs PC in Craig. The couple has two children, Paige and Chad.

He was a member of many boards at many local organizations and often used his knowledge of accounting to help others understand a group's financial process.

Bonaker was a current member of The Memorial Hospital's board of trustees and the chief financial officer of The Memorial Hospital Foundation, which is charged with fund-raising duties for hospital needs.

Bonaker was a longtime Kiwanis member. He worked tirelessly to renovate the Center of Craig. He also provided free accounting services to nonprofit groups trying to get off the ground.

Some trustees looked to Jack to make sense of the hospital's numbers, said Administrator Randy Phelps of The Memorial Hospital. Bonaker was in his fourth year with the board.

"He was consistently helpful in communicating the hospital's condition," Phelps said. "Over that time he has been an immeasurable value to me. We're not going to find another Jack."

On a personal note, Phelps said Bonaker had a "dry wit and was wise in the way that he worked to make things better for all."

"He was really strong on many of the virtues of living in Craig," Phelps added.

Bonaker was known to offer his accounting services free or at a reduced rate to some new community non-profit groups.

"He was always very generous about that," said Corrie Scott, director of Moffat County's United Way.

Scott said that Bonaker's assistance to help a nonprofits balance the books was often essential for new groups getting started.

"It's so important because sometimes new groups didn't know what to do so he helped guide them through the process," she said. "He will be very missed in regards to that, but he'll be really missed in the community, period."

The Bonakers enjoyed traveling around the U.S. In the last few years they traveled to a number of states as Missy was on a mission to visit a handful of the 50 states see hadn't yet set foot in.

"We traveled a lot and enjoyed those things," she said.

As far as their business relationship, Missy said the Bonakers worked well together.

"I don't think that too many couples could spend that much time together and still be happy," she said.

Bonaker was a naval officer and worked on a submarine during the Vietnam War.

The pair met while working at a shop in Denver after Missy was introduced as Jack's boss.

The couple would have shared exactly 25 years today of memories of life together in Craig.

"He was extremely honest. That was important to him," said Chad Bonaker about his dad. "People trusted him a lot."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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