Douglas Gray Bonner
September 27, 1918 – July 5, 2018
Douglas G. Bonner September 27, 1918—July 5, 2018
In his one-hundredth year, Douglas (Doug) Grey Bonner finally “slipped the surly bonds of Earth, . . . and touched the face of God.”* With his wife and his youngest daughter keeping vigil beside him, he quietly slipped away on Thursday afternoon, July 5th, at Savannah Court in Minden, Louisiana. A man of deep faith in God, he was ready to join the many family members and friends who had gone before him, even as he still loved so much those he left behind who mourn his passing. At the time of his death, he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Doug is survived by his devoted wife of twenty-one years, Nancy Burns Bonner, of Shreveport, who cared for him faithfully during the last years of his life, and by the members of Nancy’s family, who all loved him dearly: sister-in-law Johnette Evans (Bill), of Bossier City; brother-in-law Don Moses (Janet), of Jena, Louisiana; brother-in-law by marriage Ray Boswell, of Shreveport; four stepchildren, the Reverend John Burns (Karen), of Hyattsville, Maryland, Steve Burns (Mary), of Littleton, Colorado, Cathy Minten (Dr. Jim), of Fairhope, Alabama, and David Burns (Holly), of Marietta, Georgia; fourteen step grandchildren; and twenty-three step great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his three daughters, Anne Hudson Jones, of Kemah, Texas, Susan Aldredge (Jefferson P.), of Murchison, Texas, and Bonnie Sanson (Richard Kauffman), of Minden; his four grandchildren, Jefferson P. Aldredge, Jr. (Angie), of Keller, Texas, Richard Aldredge (Kari), of Plano, Texas, Carl Douglas Sanson and Wendy Fields (Chris), of Princeton, Louisiana, and his step grandchild, Stacie Kauffman, of Shreveport; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
A member of the Greatest Generation, Doug was born on September 27, 1918, near Oak Grove, Louisiana, to Mamie and George W. Bonner. His twin brother, Dudley, died shortly after childbirth, and his father died just a few years later. Life was very difficult for the family during the Depression years, and Doug worked hard even as a youngster to help support his mother and his two older sisters, Alice White (Floyd) and Gladys Lingenfelter (Dave), and his younger brother George Paul Bonner (Millie), all of whom have predeceased him.
In 1927, Doug moved with his family to Shreveport, where he was graduated from Fair Park High School in 1936. He was able to attend LSU in Baton Rouge for three semesters, 1936-37, studying pre-engineering and serving on the ROTC rifle team, before he ran out of money. He then returned to Shreveport and worked at a variety of jobs for the next few years.
With war clouds over Europe, Doug joined the National Guard in 1940 and was called to active duty on January 6, 1941. He applied and was accepted as an Air Force Cadet, with the rank of private. Because of his high aptitude for math, he was greatly needed as a navigator. When he successfully completed navigation school, he was commissioned as an officer, a 2nd Lieutenant. During World War II, Doug completed more than fifty bombing missions, was awarded four Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
After his war service, Doug came home to Louisiana and resumed his study of engineering at Louisiana Tech, in Ruston, on the G.I. bill. There he met Ethel Sprankle Hudson, a war widow who had come to Louisiana Tech to study music and start a new life. Doug and Ethel were married on August 23, 1946. He welcomed into his life Ethel’s two-year-old daughter Anne and forever treated her as his own.
After their graduations from Louisiana Tech—Doug in 1948 and Ethel in 1949—they moved to Shreveport, where Doug’s first job was with Halliburton. In 1949, however, he went to work as an electrical engineer for Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), where he stayed until retirement. Ethel gave birth to their two daughters, Susan and Bonnie, in 1949 and 1953, respectively.
Doug was recalled to active duty in the Air Force in 1952-53, during the Korean War. He was stationed first at Barksdale Air Force base in Bossier City and then at Ellington Air Force Base, near Houston. When his tour of duty was up, he decided not to re-enlist, and the family moved back to Shreveport, where they were reunited with Ethel’s mother Jeannette Sprankle, who had stayed behind to care for their house and beloved dog Mitzi.
Doug and Ethel were always very active members of their churches, Parkview Baptist Church in Shreveport (1948-56) and then Summer Grove Baptist Church (1956-97), where Doug was a deacon and Ethel played the piano and taught kindergarten. Doug was also a devoted member of Gideons International (from 1974) and bestowed Bibles and New Testaments throughout the world.
Doug was a longtime member of the Shreveport Lion’s Club and the Wally Byam Airstream Club. He took early retirement from SWEPCO in 1981, so that he and Ethel could travel the world in their Airstream trailer. Sadly, their traveling days were cut short by Ethel’s death in 1986.
Eleven years later, on February 7, 1997, Doug began a new chapter in his life with his marriage to Nancy Burns. He was welcomed into her large extended family and enjoyed their many visits throughout the years, especially for summer vacations and on holidays. With their marriage, Doug joined Nancy as a member of the First Baptist Church of Shreveport and remained a member until his death. He also resumed his travels in the Airstream trailer with Nancy by his side, and for many years they crisscrossed the country, making trips that ranged from Alaska to Florida. Five months ago, on February 7, 2018, they celebrated their twenty-first wedding anniversary.
Doug’s family thanks the entire staff of Savannah Court and the nurses of Aime Hospice of Minden for their special care and many kindnesses, and the First Baptist Church of Minden for their visits and support. Doug’s daughters thank his wife Nancy for her long-lasting love and support throughout the last years of his life.
Visitation will be at 10 a.m. with funeral service to follow at 11 a.m. on Wednesday , July 11th, both at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport, 543 Ockley Drive. In charge of the service are Reverend Ronny Joe Webb, Reverend Eddy Dehondt, and Reverend John Burns. Burial will follow at Centuries Memorial Park Cemetery, 8801 Mansfield Road, Shreveport. Pallbearers will be grandsons Jefferson P. Aldredge, Jr., Richard Aldredge, and Carl Douglas Sanson; son-in-law Richard Kauffman; great nephew Ray Vining; and brother-in-law Don Moses.
Memorials may be sent to the First Baptist Church of Shreveport Mission Fund, to Aime Hospice, or to the charity of your choice.
* From the poem “High Flight” (1941) by John Gillespie McGee, Jr.
- of 21 years Nancy Burns Bonner, Wife
- Johnette Evans and husband Bill, Sister-in-law
- Don Moses and wife Janet, Brother-in-law
- Ray Boswell, Brother-in-law
- Rev John Burns and wife Karen, Step child
- Steve Burns and wife Mary, Step Child
- Cathy Minten and husband Dr. Jim, Stepchild
- David Burns and wife Holly, Step child
- - fourteen, step grandchildren
- - twenty three, step -greatgrandchildren
- Anne Hudson Jones, Daughter
- Susan Aldredge and husband Jefferson P., Daughter
- Bonnie Sanson and husband Richard Kauffman, Daughter
- Jefferson P. Aldredge, Jr and wife Angie, Grandchild
- Richard Aldredge and wife Kari, Grandchild
- Carl Douglas Sanson, Grandchild
- Wendy Fields and husband Chris, Grandchild
- Stacie Kauffman, step grandchild
- - five, great-grandchildren
- - many, nieces and nephews
- Celebration of Life Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Douglas Gray Bonner
July 17, 2018
The Final Salute
“Brothers in Arms”, Military men and women down through the centuries, have traditionally exchanged “Hand Salutes” as a sign of recognition and as a way to render courtesy and respect one to another.
This “Hand Salute” is the last that we shall render to Douglas Gray Bonner our “Brother-in-Arms”. To his family it symbolizes the love and respect that we have for Doug. To Doug it is rendered as a symbol of honor and gratitude to thank him for the devoted and selfless service he rendered to his country during WW-II and the Koran War while serving as a bomber Navigator first in the U.S. Army Air Corps and then in the U.S. Air Force. Doug, we commend your aerial combat record and your honorable Air Force service. You are a true patriot, who served with honor and distinction. You upheld the finest qualities of an American patriot warrior: courage, commitment, generosity, sacrifice, love and devotion to family and country. You were a true friend. We bid you a sad farewell. You will be dearly missed from among our ranks. Be at Ease. Rest in Peace.
On behalf of the 961 military veteran Legionnaires of Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 of the American Legion and the 177 veterans of VFW Post 2238 in Shreveport, Louisiana, we extend our sympathies and our condolences to Doug’s family and loved ones.
Dennis Engdahl, Commander, American Legion Post 14
5315 South Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport, LA 71109https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/shreveport-la/james-hicks-7935192
Charles Livingston, Commander, VFW Post 2238
1245 Gary Street, Shreveport, LA 71101
For the Commanders, Carroll R. Michaud
July 7, 2018
Uncle Doug was a wonderful family man--not only to his wife Aunt Ethel and children, but to his brother (my father Paul Bonner), his sisters (Aunt Alice and Aunt Gladys and their families). I remember many happy times between our families--backyard cookouts, visits to Grandmother Bonner's house in Shreveport, visits with Aunt Gladys and her family and later on, visits from Uncle Doug and Nancy. Uncle Doug was a Godsend when my father died and my mother needed help in putting together a funeral. Later, he was one of the last people to visit her before she died in Texas from cancer. He was a genuine war hero, a religious man, and a family man with a heart big enough for all of us. He will be greatly missed.
Judy Bonner Wilkinson, niece