On Thursday 2 June 2011 the Maltese community in Victoria lost one of its well respected members with the passing away of Dominic Bonello.
Dominic was a devoted man, not only to his wife Annie his family, but to his second great love of his life, (some would say his first), Don Bosco and the Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria.
As well as being a Past Pupil, Dominic was a true Salesian, working hard tirelessly for the Salesian cause of raising money to help the overseas Salesian Missions. He did this for almost 54 years, being involved with the then Salesian Old Boys Association from just after its formation in 1957.
Dominic was not a man to put himself out there for recognition, but preferred to stay in the back ground and encourage others to “take the glory” while he, together with his wife Annie, worked endlessly behind the scenes.
Dominic was nominated to and accepted the position as President back in the Seventies at time when the Association had gone quiet, and waited till such a time when, in 1988, my father, (then Secretary), the Late John B. Portelli, was elected as President and Dominic stepped back to become Vice –President, a position Dominic continued to hold for almost 20 years. He also stepped in as Acting-President many times as needed.
Together, with my father and the committee, they began rebuilding the Salesian Past Pupils Assoc. of Vic.
Dominic’s commitment to the cause was never ending, patiently working to make sure that any issue that arose concerning the Association were resolved. He not only diligently attended the monthly meetings, but for three years, attended the Don Bosco Hostel Executive Committee monthly meetings with Joe Darmanin who was President at the time. This shows how Dominic was not only keen, but dedicated to supporting the Salesian cause and helping our Association to bring closer relations with the Salesian Family.
Dominic‘s wife Annie later became Social Secretary and together they would go to the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville twice a week to try to sell tickets and encourage people to come to our functions with the aim of raising more money for the missions. Together with Annie they would also continuously donate prizes for the raffles. He always kept Don Bosco and the Associations members at heart.
I, personally, have known of Dominic, it seems for most of my life, through his contact with my father, but it is was only in about the last ten years that I had the privilege of knowing Dominic personally.
I re-met him at a function that I had the chance to attend, where Dominic re-introduced himself to me and later started encouraging me to become a committee member and then when the opportunity arose, he further strongly encouraged me to stand for the position of President, with him as Vic-President. I continually turned to Dominic for advice as I felt that he should have been President but he said that I was following in my father’s footsteps and he was happy to help me as my “right hand man”.
Dominic and Annie stepped down from the committee due to Dominic’s failing health in late 2007. He, as well as Annie, left a great void in our Association but he continued to help and support our cause to the end.
He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him and especially the Salesian Family. He leaves behind his mark of loyalty, dedication, commitment and a great true example of the Salesian Family.
Dominic, with Don Bosco, Rest In Peace.