Mother of Singer Jon Bon Jovi Was 83

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

The death of the woman known to some fans as “Mom Jovi” came three days shy of her 84th birthday at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, New Jersey. No cause of death was given.

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

After decades of figuring big in family — and therefore band — lore, Carol Bongiovi made an appearance of sorts in one of her son’s latter-day music videos, as did her husband of 63 years, John Bongiovi, Sr., who survives her. For his “Story of Love” video in 2021, the rocker sang in front of a large black-and-white portrait of his parents in their youth, reinforcing just how long they’d been together — even as he alluded to his own longstanding union with his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Bongiovi.

“What I got from my parents was the ability to make the dream reality,” Bon Jovi told the Big Issue in 2020. “Even if you truly weren’t any good at your craft, if you believed you were, you could work on it. As I got older I realized that was a great gift that I got from my folks. They truly believed in the John Kennedy mantra of going to the moon. ‘Yeah, of course you can go to the moon. Just go, Johnny.’ And there I went.”

One reason Carol stood out to the band’s fans, beyond her famous boosterism for her son’s musical efforts, was that very few rockers can tell the story of being the son of two Marines. His parents met when they were both in the Marine Corps in the 1950s, marrying shortly afterward.

But not many can say they were the son of one of the first Playboy bunnies, either, something Carol also had on her resume along with her military service. She was a florist, as well, prior to enlisting.

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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, NJ, where their son Jon was born in 1962.

According to Laura Jackson’s biography of Jon Bon Jovi, Carol encouraged her son’s nascent flair for performing, and “would line up with her elder son before a full-length mirror (where) together they had fun watching themselves perform songs.” When he was just 7, she brought home an acoustic guitar and urged him to learn to play it, although it wasn’t until he was a teenager that he began to seriously take up music.

Besides her husband and her musician son and his wife, Carol is also survived by two more sons and their spouses — Anthony and Nina Yang Bongiovi of Los Angeles, and Matthew and Desiree Bongiovi of Holmdel, NJ — and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private. Holmdel Funeral Home, which is in charge of the arrangement, has set up a tribute page that allows for messages of condolences, at www.holmdelfuneralhome.com.

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