James Russell-Bonner-Obituary

Photo courtesy of Joseph M. Johnson and Son Funeral Home - McKenney

James Russell Bonner

McKenney, Virginia

Nov 27, 1924 – Jul 11, 2019 (Age 94)


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Joseph M. Johnson and Son Funeral Home - McKenney Obituary

Mr. James Russell Bonner, 94, of Dinwiddie, VA entered into eternal rest on July 11, 2019, at VCU/MCV Medical Center, Richmond, VA after a brief period of hospitalization following an accident.

Born November 27, 1924, the youngest child of William “Billy” Bonner and Emma Bates Bonner of Dinwiddie, VA.   He completed his public education in the Dinwiddie County School system and entered the military. He served in the Army during World War II, with tours in Europe and the Philippines.   After discharge from the Army, he returned home, married his love, Doletha Edwards, started his family and began a long history of employment as a Federal employee at Fort Lee, VA. He retired after 30 years of employment in the Waterworks Department at Fort Lee.   He also farmed for many years as an additional source of income. He was a DIY person who didn’t believe in calling repair services for anything until he had tried everything he could do himself.       

He was baptized at Mount Level Baptist Church, Dinwiddie, VA at a young age and maintained active membership and attendance all of his life.   He was an active member of the Masons Inc., M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia. He was a charter member and Past Master of the C.V. Wilson Lodge #317, DeWitt, VA where he served for more than fifty years.    

He was a gardener and he had a passion for hunting, fishing, and sports, especially baseball.   He was an active and founding member of the Eastside Hunt Club, Dinwiddie, VA and the Coon Hunters Association of Dinwiddie until his health declined.   He was a member of the “Over The Hill Gang”, a distinction of respect given to him and six senior companions who frequented the local and regional baseball games.   These men, Joe Gholson, Courtney Faulcon, John Moses Bonner and William Bonner who preceded him in death, and two remaining, Melvin Ellis and Evan Bolling were his good friends.      

He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Doletha Edwards Bonner; his parents and siblings, Gertrude, Floyd, William, Florence, John Moses Bonner and Alice Richardson;    Daughters in law, Elizabeth Bonner and Deborah Bonner, as well as his many nieces, nephews and in-laws of the Bonner and Edwards families.  

He leaves to cherish many wonderful memories, two daughters, Rev. Joan Freeman (Calvin) of the home place and Dr. Alice Bonner of Chevy Chase, MD; three sons, Russell Bonner, James Bonner(Ramona) of Chesapeake, VA and Alvin Bonner(Iris) of Dinwiddie, VA.; Nine Grandchildren: Tarik Freeman(Marilyn), Mike Baugh, Destiny Dash, Jason Bonner(Khamila), Darice Freeman, Thembi Bonner, Drew Bonner(Jennifer), Christopher Bonner and Rhasan Bonner; seven great-grandchildren: Asante, Jalen, Jayla, Paige, Malcolm, Spencer and Cameron.  He leaves one devoted sister Bernice Wright of New York, NY, who celebrated 99 years this week. Also left with fond memories are numerous devoted nieces and nephews of the Bonner family, Faulcon family, Edwards family, Ellis family and Wyatt family.  

The family extends much gratitude to his physicians of many years, Dr. Matthew Joseph, MD of VCU Health, Cardiology; Dr. Vijaya Chirumamilla, MD of Southside Kidney Specialists; H. Park of Dinwiddie Medical Center and the VCU Neurosurgical Trauma, Critical Care and Palliative Care Units for exceptional treatment and care.

A homegoing service will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at 11 a.m. at the Mount Level Baptist Church, Dinwiddie, with Rev. Robin Bonner Cox, eulogizing, and Rev. Herbert R. Holly, II, officiating.  Burial with Military Honors, followed by Masonic Rites, will be given at the Dinwiddie Memorial Park.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Joseph M. Johnson & Son Funeral Home, 530 South Sycamore Street, Petersburg.


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I am truly sorry to hear of the passing away of Mr. Bonner. Extending sincere condolences to the family during this time of bereavement.

Sorrowfully Submitted,
Sheila Ellis

To the family...my deepest condolence on the death of Mr, Bonner; he was indeed a gentleman always...I pray that God will comfort your hearts as you transition through your grief. RIJ Mr. Bonner!!

To the Bonner family, I was sadden to hear the passing of your father. I didn't know him, but
I am sure the life he lived speak for him. My
Prayers are with you.

To the family, I don't have any words to express how I grieve at your loss. My earnest prayers and thoughts are always to help you through the days ahead. He's the last of the over the "hill gang". And I can truly say that I really enjoyed entertaining them every New year's at my home. Oh, what a time. May your memories bring you comfort.