July 17, 2024

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Jon Bon Jovi’s mother dies at 83

Jon Bon Jovi’s mother dies at 83

Carol Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi’s mother and a familiar face to fans as the founder of the Bon Jovi fan club, died Tuesday at the age of 83.

The woman known to some fans as “Joffie’s mom” died three days before her 84th birthday at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. The cause of death has not been determined.

“Our mother was a force to be reckoned with; her spirit and positive attitude helped shape this family,” Jon Bon Jovi said in a statement announcing the news. “She will be greatly missed.”

After decades of being a major part of the family’s — and thus the band’s — history, Carol Bongiovi appeared in one of her son’s final music videos, as did her husband John Bongiovi Sr., who lived with her for 63 years. In his 2021 video for “Love Story,” the singer sang in front of a large black-and-white photo of his parents in their youth, emphasizing how long they’d been together — even as he hinted at his long-term union with his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Bongiovi.

“I inherited from my father the ability to turn a dream into a reality,” Bon Jovi told Big Issue magazine in 2020. “Even if you’re not really good at your craft, if you think you’re good, you can work at it. And as I got older, I realized that was a great gift I received from my parents. They really believed in John F. Kennedy’s mantra of going to the moon. ‘Yes, of course you can go to the moon. Just go, Johnny.’ And there I went.”

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One reason Carroll stood out among the band’s fans, besides her famous support for her son’s musical endeavors, was that few rock musicians could tell the story of being the son of two Marines. His parents met when they were both Marines in the 1950s, and married shortly after.

But not many can say they were the children of one of the first Playboy bunnies, which was also on Carol’s resume besides her military service. She was a florist before she was drafted.

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Carol Sharkey was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. After she and her husband were discharged from the Marines, they moved to Sayreville, New Jersey, where their son John was born in 1962.

According to Laura Jackson’s biography of Jon Bon Jovi, Carole encouraged her son’s budding talent for performing, “standing with her eldest son in front of a full-length mirror (where) they would enjoy watching themselves perform songs together.” When he was just seven, she brought home an acoustic guitar and urged him to learn to play it, although he did not begin taking music seriously until he was a teenager.

Besides her husband, musician son and daughter-in-law, Carole also leaves behind two other sons and their spouses — Anthony and Nina Yang Bongiovi of Los Angeles, and Matthew and Desiree Bongiovi of Holmdel, New Jersey — and eight grandchildren.

The funeral will be private. Holmdel Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements, has set up a tribute page where messages of condolences can be sent at www.holmdelfuneralhome.com.