Long-time Big Spring resident and educator, Dr. Ross Wayne Bonner, passed from this earthly life that he so enjoyed Dec. 12, 2015. During his 92 years of life, he lovingly filled many roles - son, brother, husband, father, uncle, cousin, teacher, coach, mentor, dance partner - and is affectionately known in and around town by numerous titles - Coach, Doc, Bonner, friend.|
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at 2 p.m. at the Nalley-Pickle & Welch Rosewood Chapel. Interment will follow at Trinity Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday evening at the funeral home.
Wayne was born at home in the Texas farming community of Otto March 5, 1923, to Oscar Lee and Ida Mae Bonner, and lived in and around the Mart area until he entered North Texas State Teachers College in Denton. He credits several mentors with giving him a "hand up" to move from the farm to the halls of learning to continue his education. He went on to earn three degrees from what is now the University of North Texas.
Before he could complete his first degree, however, WWII intervened, and Wayne enlisted in the United States Army, seeing action throughout the European theatre from Rome to Norway. He earned the rank of 1st Sargent, having served in the 552nd Anti-Tank Regiment and 474th Infantry Regiment.
Upon his return, Wayne finished the first phase of his education at North Texas State Teachers College, earning the first of his three degrees. There, he met the love of his life, Lucy Dale Williams, and married her in Dallas in 1948. The newlyweds relocated to Big Spring, Texas, where "Coach" continued the teaching and coaching career he had begun the previous year in Runge, Texas. While in Big Spring, he was on the coaching staff that took the 1953 Big Spring Steers to the state football championship game.
After coaching in Anson and Seymour (1955-61), the family returned to Big Spring, with Wayne in the role of high school guidance counselor. He accepted the role of Director of Guidance Services at Howard College in 1965. He continued to work toward his doctorate, earning his Doctorate of Counseling Psychology from North Texas State University in 1970, and thus became known around town as "Dr. Bonner" or "Doc." He served as one of the few licensed psychologists in the region and, upon his retirement from the education system in 1982 opened a private practice. He later worked as a psychologist in the federal prison system. With the urging of his bride of almost 60 years, he decided to retire completely in 2001. Wayne and Lucy had several more years together - traveling, square dancing, and serving the community - before her passing in 2008.
Dr. Bonner was a member of the Retired Teachers' Association, the Downtown Lion's Club, the Psychological Association of Great West Texas and First United Methodist Church and the Epworth Sunday School Class, as well as a supporter of the Denton Senior Center and its Friday night dances, where his challenge continued to be the waltz. In the past few years, he especially enjoyed attending the class reunions for the students he taught at Big Spring High School and chronicling his years of Army service.
He is predeceased by his wife, his parents, his brother, Norman Read, and his sister, Faye Coppedge.
Those left to cherish his memory are his daughter and son-in-law, Gwynn and Dennis Jump of Denton, Texas; a son, Greg Bonner, of California; four grandchildren, Meredith Jump, Hilary Jump, Sheena Bonner and Cody Bonner; and one great-granddaughter, Jayden Bonner; along with a beloved family of nieces, nephews and cousins and a myriad group of friends who knew him for the good and generous man that he was.
The family suggests memorials be made to the
in Lubbock, 3511 10th Street, Lubbock, TX 79415 or Food2Kids c/o First United Methodist Church, 400 Scurry Street, Big Spring, TX 79720.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home and Crematory. Online condolences may be left at www.npwelch.com
Published in Big Spring Herald on Dec. 17, 2015