C. Theodore Bonawitz rescued Harold L. Nelson from suffocation, Tremont, Pennsylvania, May 31, 1942. Harold, 17, laborer, started a gasoline-driven pump in a steep-sloping entry of a coal-mine 145 feet below the mouth of the entry. He was overcome by exhaust gas. A miner who was with Harold made his way to the surface, being nearly overcome. He attracted the attention of Bonawitz, 37, truck driver, who never had been in the mine. In darkness and with difficulty Bonawitz descended the entry, frequently stumbling into foot-deep holes between ties of a skid track, for 140 feet and then stepped on Harold. He felt himself being affected by gas. He carried Harold five feet toward the mouth, fell, and burned his hand by contact with the exhaust pipe of the pump. Slipping and falling several times, Bonawitz alternately dragged and carried Harold, moving him to a point 25 feet from the mouth. He called for help. Two other men then descended to him, and the three carried Harold five feet farther. Thinking he was about to collapse, Bonawitz, who was gasping and whose legs were numb, walked out of the entry and fell from weakness. He asked other men to aid Harold, but none responded. Recovering somewhat, Bonawitz again descended to Harold; and two men followed him. Together Bonawitz and the others carried Harold from the mine. Harold was revived. Bonawitz was weak for a day. 39539-3270
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C. Theodore Bonawitz, 63, 313 W. Laurel St., Tremont, former member and past president of Tremont Borough Council, died early yesterday monring in Washington, D.C. Sanitarium where he had been a patient the past week.
Bonawitz had been convalescing at a home of a daughter, Mrs. John Davis, of Simpsonville. Md. When he became ill he was taken to the sanitarium.
A former Republican committeeman in Tremont, he had been superintendent for the Pennsylvania Department of Highways in the Tremont and Porter Twp. areas.
His wife, the former Mary Florick, was killed six months ago in a highway accident in Reading.
Additional information and arrangements upon completion will be announced by Minnig Funeral Home, Tremont.
Published 08/28/1968 in West Schuylkill Herald