Greenfield man killed in Vt. snowmobile accident

  • Patty Judice shakes the hand of Pioneer Avaiation Corp. President Bruce Bohonowicz. Contributed Photo

Recorder Staff and Associated Press
Friday, February 09, 2018

GREENFIELD — Friends of a 53-year-old Greenfield man expressed shock Friday after hearing he had died in a Vermont snowmobile accident earlier this week.

Vermont police say Bruce Bohonowicz was riding his snowmobile on a trail in Lemington on Thursday, when he drove off the trail at a sharp curve. They say Bohonowicz was thrown from the snowmobile and struck a nearby tree.

First responders pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police say it is unclear whether alcohol or speed might have been a factor in the crash, and they are continuing to investigate.

Lemington, along the Connecticut River, is near Colebrook, N.H.

Friends of Bohonowicz, who was president of the Turners Falls-based Pioneer Aviation Corp., said Friday he was an avid outdoorsman and snowmobiler.

“We used to snowmobile together since we were young kids, so I know he was an experienced rider,” said Nicole Ciesluk of Deerfield. “These stupid accidents; it’s just shocking.”

Bohonowicz and Ciesluk met each other while in high school at Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Ciesluk said the last time she saw Bohonowicz, a few years ago, he talked of having done a lot of snowmobiling in northern New England.

“Snowmobiling was one of his passions. Unfortunately, it cost him his life,” said Bryan Camden, manager of the Turners Falls Airport adjacent to Bohonowicz’s Pioneer Aviation Corp.

According to Camden, aviation was another of Bohonowicz’s passions, and he oversaw day-to-day operations of the business, founded by his father, Charles, in 1970.

“Him and his dad have been around here since pretty much the airport started. He was just a great guy to work with,” Camden said. “Between him and his dad, they’ve been a staple here for 60 years.”

Pioneer Aviation has maintained and inspected small airplanes and trained pilots.

The company even offered scenic aerial tours of the Pioneer Valley over the years. Last year, a woman came to Bohonowicz with a 30-year-old certificate offering one hour of free flying. Bohonowicz not only redeemed the certificate, issued by his father in 1987, but doubled it, offering to take two people on a flight.

Camden said Bohonowicz, like his late father, worked with Pioneer Aviation’s many clients directly, taking pride in his work.

The Bohonowicz family members, he said, were integral to the Pioneer Valley and have been sorely missed. Charles Bohonowicz died on Dec. 12, 2017, at 89, and Janice Bohonowicz, Bruce’s wife, died on Sept. 3, 2016, from brain cancer. She was 56 years old.

They were all active people, and dedicated to their passions. Bruce Bohonowicz and Charles Bohonowicz often focused on aviation, and Janice Bohonowicz was an ardent runner who competed in many races. Camden said he remembers all three as important to others.

“The aviation community and all the pilots are just shocked to hear about this,” said Camden, who also said Bohonowicz’s death was the first thing he heard Thursday morning. “We’re just shocked.”

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