Harold Ralph Bonner

August 28, 1929May 5, 2014

Rev. Harold Ralph Bonner On May 5, 2014, at his home in Auburn, Rev. Hal Ralph Bonner passed peacefully from this life and into the presence of Jesus, his Lord. His beloved wife Gay was with him, as she has been for 58 years. Also with him were family and friends who had lovingly cared for him. He is survived by Gay; son Tad and his wife Debbie and their children Tyler, Jessica, and Nathan; daughter Jana Owens and her husband Darrell and their children Travis and Nikki; son Steven; brothers Gale, Bert, and Gary; sisters Eva, Sharon, and Valerie; and scores of nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. He was preceded in death by parents Jessie and Harry Bonner, and sister Carolyn Lehman. These were Hal’s lifelong priorities—love for his Lord, love for his family, and love for those who knew him as pastor and friend. Hal was born in Anaheim, California on August 28, 1929 to Jessie and Harry—the third child of eight siblings. He grew up in Anaheim in the decades before Disneyland. Hal gave his life to Jesus Christ as a sophomore in high school and sensed God’s call to Christian ministry. He graduated from Anaheim High School, Pasadena College in 1951, and Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1954. Hal served as a minister of the gospel in the Christian Church of Gunn City, Missouri in 1954, then served as pastor in several Nazarene churches in northern and southern California (in Oakland, San Anselmo, Highland Park, Alhambra, and Auburn), ending his full-time ministry having served 24 years as senior pastor of Parkside Nazarene Church in Auburn. After his retirement in 1997, he continued his Christian ministry in various capacities (Parkside’s Pastor Emeritus and Minister of Pastoral Care from 1998 through 2007, mortuary chaplain and hearse driver, and assistant to the Superintendent of the Sacramento District Church of the Nazarene) but primarily as interim pastor at several churches from Sacramento to Sparks, Nevada. Other ministers have described Hal as a “preacher’s preacher.” He edited and authored books of sermons to assist preachers: Proclaiming the Spirit, Proclaiming the Savior, and Proclaiming Good News On Special Days. He wrote two other books: Second String Heroes; First Class Saints and When God Speaks: Tuning in to Our Talkative God. In addition, he wrote Sunday school adult lesson series for the General Church of the Nazarene. Hal was elected to serve on the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene. Early in his ministry Hal was privileged to teach introductory Bible and philosophy classes at Pasadena College. He took his call to ministry seriously, and it was a calling, not a career. His words were always chosen with care and reverence, because he so often spoke for God. “Sir, we would see Jesus,” was engraved on a small plaque placed just above where he laid his Bible on one of the pulpits where he preached; his focused purpose, his commitment was living his faith and making plain the gospel message. Whatever praise and gratitude we may have and feel for Hal, he would tell us that he was merely God’s servant, utterly relying on the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, and used to point us to Jesus Christ. Harold Bonner’s earthly life was one of humble, loving obedience to his Savior and service to God’s people. The world is better, and we are blessed because Hal touched lives for eternity. Hal lived for God and good. Hal loved people deeply—for God and good. Hal lived abundantly in integrity, sincerity, and grace. To God be the glory! In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Parkside Church of the Nazarene to the Harold Bonner Ministerial Studies Scholarship. A celebration of Hal’s life will be held at Parkside Nazarene Church on Monday, May 12 at 11 a.m.


  • Memorial Service Monday, May 12, 2014

Harold Ralph Bonner

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January 19, 2015

Hal was our minister at Gunn City Christian Church in 1953-54 when he was in seminary in Kansas City. I was 19 and was so impressed with his love of his Lord . He was to officiate at our wedding in 1954 but was called to a church in California. I was always sorry that he couldn't marry us. He was what every minister should be. A light just went out. Mary Hocker, Harrisonville, MO

Jim Myers

June 29, 2014

Hal officiated at my father's funeral in a way that warmed the heart of everyone there. His life, his words all testified to the love he had for God. Love and prayers go out to relatives and friends of this fine gentleman. The best thing we who remain on this earth can do is to live our lives so they always reflect the love of Jesus as well as Hal did.

May 30, 2014

My prayers are with the family. Pastor Bonner was at the Nazarene Church in Auburn when I was attending. He was always there in time of need for my family.

Rest in Peace,
Patricia Francis-Hill

John R. Andrus

May 14, 2014

I was shocked this evening when I read in
Nazarene news that my friend Hal Bonner had passed. Seems that I have known Harold and his family most of my life. We
grew up in the Orange County, CA area and attended Pasadena College together in the late 40s. We have tried to keep in
touch across the years and across the miles as our ministeries have taken us to different parts of the country. We will certainly be remembering the family in prayer. John R. Andrus

May 12, 2014

Prayers to the Bonner family.
Thanks for all you have done.
"Once A Colonist, Always A Colonist" Anaheim High School Alumni

Audrey Bird

May 10, 2014

I have never known a more Godly man than Hal Bonner. As I look back over my life I realize no pastor has influenced my life more. What an example he was of living out your life in holiness and reverence unto the Lord. He will surely be missed. My heart and prayers go out to Gay and the family.

May 10, 2014

Hal and I were in seminary together and pastored in Northern California.
We shared a common faith that there is a better day coming when our best dreams will never die and our fondest hopes will never fade.
So Hal, here's to you a temporary goodbye. Gay, may God be with you and your family. Champ Traylor, San Mateo Ca

Al & Carol Tallman

May 10, 2014

You will be missed but know you are with the Lord and at peace. We will miss you.You were our Pastor and helped us in so many ways
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Love Al & Carol Tallman
Chino Valley, Az.

May 10, 2014

Dear Gay and Family,

Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Dwight and Marilee Napier (Caldwell, ID)

Rob Staples

May 10, 2014

Hal and I were in seminary together and afterwards we both
pastored in Northern California and saw each other often. He was always a gentleman as well as an exemplary Christian. Although distance kept us from seeing each other very often during the bulk of our careers, just knowing he is gone I will miss him.