Former State Trooper “was a fascinating man to know”

Paul Garrod -
	This photo was taken last year on Clarence Bonter’s 107th birthday.  Pictured, from left, are Michigan State Police Inspector Dale Hinz, Bonter, and MSP Trooper  Tom Coles.	  Photo courtesy of Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post

    PAW PAW - A retired Michigan State Police trooper who passed away last Saturday at the age of 107, is being fondly remembered by the agency that he worked for  just short of 30 years.
    Clarence Bonter, of Paw Paw, is believed to have been the  state’s oldest living retired  Michigan State Police trooper, and possibly the oldest in the country.
    Inspector Dale R. Hinz, Assistant District Commander, Fifth District Headquarters, Paw Paw, said Bonter “was a fascinating man to know.  He was a man who bled Michigan State Police blue and always enjoyed the opportunity to sit and talk to the current troopers about his time in the agency.”
    Hinze and  MSP Trooper Tom Coles had an opportunity to share some time together at Bonter’s 107th birthday last year.
    “It was definitely a different time when he served; however, the culture of the department hasn’t changed and that’s the relationship that I shared with him,” said Hinz.
    From 1936 to 1937, Bonter served as a guard at Jackson State Prison. Then, he began a 29-year-career  with Michigan State Police, working at six different posts from 1937 to 1966 that included Jackson, Flint, Bay City, Battle Creek, West Branch, and finally Paw Paw.
    After his retirement from MSP, Bonter worked 16 years for the United States  Soil Conservation from 1966 to 1982. In addition, he served on the Almena Township Board from 1968 to 1995.
    Hinz said, “Clarence loved to talk about riding the Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the agency and the different adventures that he experienced during his MSP career.”
    Hinz said, “Clarence was an icon in the area and he will truly be missed.”

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