James “Joey” Bonavita

2012 Jamaica 161

Joey Bonavita (James Peter Bonavita) also known as Jones, Sparky, MC Boomer, and Joey Baggadonuts, was born May 6, 1955 to Marie (Nudo) and Ray (Raphael) Bonavita in Utica NY. Joey was predeceased by both his parents and his sister Cindy (Cynthia Hadley). Joey passed away peacefully on July 14, 2014 after an extended illness. Among a multitude of friends and extended family, Joey is survived by his beloved nephews Wade and Ryan English and his best friends Nikki Llewellyn (the WidowBaggadonuts) and Terry Timothy (Captain Jones).

Joey, an accomplished musician and innovative composer, was known for incredible bass riffs and strong vocals. He was a 30 year member of the local Rock & Roll, Reggae and Soul group The Hogs, and over the years was an integral member of the Buzzo Brothers Band. He was half of the two person vocal duos the Mental Detectors and the Conesus Kings. He played and recorded with various local musicians including John Hopf, Rich Kronert, and international recording musician, John Bartles. Joey composed and performed instrumental numbers used by the Rochester Interpretive Dance Troup in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was a founding member of the New Vibrations Society promoting original alternative musical performances.

Joey had a strong respect and deep regard for individuals with daily challenges or disabilities. He worked at the Livingston Wyoming Arc as a case manager and before that at the Holcomb School in Geneseo where, in addition to his regular job duties, he was a Boy Scout Troop Leader for students with developmental disabilities.

Joey was an avid fisherman and a champion carp fisherman. Being a vegetarian for most of his adult life, Joey was a strong proponent of the “Catch & Release” fishing philosophy. He loved good food and cherished his mother’s spinach roll and his father’s pasta cecci. His love of Pizza made him a well known patron at Mamma Mia’s in Geneseo and The Leaning Tower in Mt Morris. His new found love for specialty lasagna and innovative ice cream flavors, made him a regular customer at Questa Lasagna and the homemade ice creamery of Zeppos both operated by personal friend, Chef Tim, in Mt Morris.

Arrangements are being made for a small private ceremony for close friends and immediate family. An NVS Celebration of Life gathering will be arranged for August or September.

Anyone wishing to make a donation in Joey’s memory can send them to the Keshequa School District Music Department (PO Box 517, Nunda NY 14517), the Addison Central School Music Department (7 Cleveland Drive, Addison NY 14801) or to ABVI, The Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, (422 S Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620).

Rochester Cremation, 4044 W. Henrietta Road, Rochester NY 14623, 359-2300, RochesterCremation.com

26 Condolences

  1. Your brother Jones on July 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Yes my brother ninja stone, I will miss your fabulous bass playing and your sweet sweet vocals. Most of all I will miss your friendship. You betcha buddy buddy!!!

  2. john bickford on July 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    joey thankyou for allowing my life to be touched by you!!!!!!

  3. ray miller on July 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting joe and im a better person for it . He was InMy Eyes the best bass player in the tri county area and just a great level headed since of humor’ I will miss talking with Joe. GODS SPEED

  4. Debby Fenton on July 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Joey, Thank you for touching my life and my heart. Love you♡

  5. Craig R. Moffitt on July 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    My prayers and condolences to family and friends…

  6. Chris Swanson on July 18, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Mission accomplished.

  7. Miche Fambro on July 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Joey, an absolute beautiful being. They’re going to love him up there. 🙂

  8. Leigh on July 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

    thanks for sharing the music … especially the music of your soul

  9. Ward Parker on July 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

    You finally got to those “Crossroads” my old friend. You will always be in my heart and I will always miss you. Rest in peace Joey.

  10. Ricky Roni on July 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for bringing the gift of music into my life. Rest in peace my friend.

  11. Steve Dimmick on July 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    You will be missed my friend. Such a great bass player and person. I feel very honored to have known you and jammed with you. See you soon.

  12. Joseph Naresky on July 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

    My condolences to Jim’s family and friends. I’m an old college buddy of Jim’s from Herkimer and Geneseo, NY. I’ll never forget the music.
    Mike Naresky, Rome NY

  13. Tammy Hernandez on July 23, 2014 at 8:33 am

    You are so missed my friend.

  14. Bill and Colleen Timothy on July 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Joey, you did a lot in your short life! So glad to have
    known you and you were a great friend to “Jones”.
    The music will be rolling in those clouds!

  15. JEFF SABO on August 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I knew him as “Joe Culutti” back in the Geneseo State days.
    Our band was Choice cut back in the day…we were hired for a local high school dance and I had to give the names of the band members to the school for insurance reasons…got me right, Mike Doss right, but somehow had a brain fade on Bonavita, hence, he became Culluti…we continued to giggle about that through the years…was backup drummer with Terry and him a few times with The Holy Ordained Gospel Singers…loved him to pieces…Heaven received a truly remarkable bass player…so, sorry…Sabo

  16. Sam DeBella on August 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    A very sad moment for me. We had several bands and many fishing trips under our belts back in the 70’s. I will always remember and cherish all of the good times we had! I can’t even remember any bad ones. Save me a spot in your band on the other side brother. Love ya! <3

  17. Jean Cantore Green on August 26, 2014 at 3:22 am

    “Jimmy Bonavita” was part of our family. He was my younger brother best buddy during their wonder years of elementary school, and a day without “James Bond” was a day with far less laughter. And sweetness. And pure kindness. Because Jimmy was all of these and so much more. RIP, Dear Jimmy.
    With many many wonderful memories. And everlasting love. . . jeanne Cantore Green

  18. Kevin Clary on September 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I just read the news of Joey’s passing today. Joey I met you at HCCC so many years ago and then we crossed paths again while students at Geneseo. You are a great friend to me and my wife and we were honored to have you, Terry, and Kevin (The Hogs) play at our wedding. I always dug your vibe and screwed on head. Sail on my brother. Peace. Kevin Clary

  19. Ethan Lyons on September 14, 2014 at 2:06 pm


    You taught me how to fish, introduced me to so much music, Fire Sign Theater, invited me into your life and home and once taught me that the answer to any geography question could be reduced to “god” and “mud.” (I did get half credit on a test in college using your tongue-in-cheeky response.)

    My condolences to you Terry and Nikki. Joey was the best friend a person could have.

    Words can not express my sadness.


  20. Ginnie Genovese on September 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I just heard about this today. While I only know him a few years while I was in college, I remember him as a gentle, kind and loving soul. We lived next door to each other in the 70s at Geneseo Heights. He and his roommate were in Buzzo’s band and we nicknamed him Joe-Jim and his roommate (the drummer) Jim-Jim..everyone had to have a Jim in their name. Happy memories of marching with the Bandits every year down Main St. He was a talented musician and would go out of his way to help someone. Fond memories for a sweet soul. My condolences to his family.

  21. Andreza on November 24, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Take this for what you will, but I’m much older than you (1 month shy of 31 to be exact) and I recently attneded a conference where Manisha Thakor (womens financial expert) lectured on budgeting and understanding how the flow of money works. She clearly told us all that higher education debt should never exceed more than you can make after working in your chosen field for one year. So, if you want to write, you may want to explore how much journalists make their first few years out of college.I can’t tell you what school to go to, but I can tell you this- neither my husband nor myself have ANY school loans. He never went to college and I had the good fortune of a family who paid for mine (so if you fall into this boat, then good for you). Being where we are now is unique because sooo many ppl our age have massive student loans and it limits what they are able to afford. So keep that in mind when you choose something. Best of luck to you!

  22. Hadeel on November 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I am extremely lucky in that my partens are paying for college, and I ended up getting a large scholarship thanks to my hard work! I am thinking about going to law school, now- so maybe it will all work out in the end. Thanks for your advice.

  23. Lisa K. LaForest-Schreiner on November 27, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Joey, you touched so many lives, and made each of us richer for it. I will miss you.

  24. jerry rongo on March 27, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Joey made great music ! N.V.S.Concerts were the best you left big shoes to fill….j.rongo

  25. Rich Basile on August 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I had the pleasure of knowing you in high school. Our love of good music made us friends. It was a true pleasure that you drove the distance in 2009 to watch me perform with my band after not seeing you for 35 years. Joe Vabootza will perform a memorial concert in your memory. You will be missed, and I will always be honored to have been your friend.

  26. Nikki on June 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Thank you to everyone who left a thought or words of praise,sympathy or love. I hadn’t checked this out in over a year. He would be grateful that people who knew him at different stages of life or places thought enough of him to write such kind words.

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