Donald A. Bonner of 804 South Martin Luther King Jr. Street, Rowland, North Carolina died at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill on Friday, September 10, 2021. He was born in Rowland, North Carolina on June 22, 1935 to the late Catherine McGirt and Weldon McQueen. Later, he was adopted by his step-father, Ernest Bonner. Donald attended Southside High School graduating in 1951. He furthered his education at North Carolina Central University where he received both his Bachelor of Science and Master's Degrees in Biology.
Donald began his teaching career in Georgetown County, South Carolina 1956. Uncle Sam called in 1958, and Donald went to serve in the military-US Army Medical Corps, Specialist 4th Class. He returned to teaching in 1960 in Lake View, SC, then returned to NC to teach in 1962 in Rockingham and Maxton. In 1968, he became the first African-American to teach in Rowland High School where he concurrently served as Asst. Principal. In 1972, he became Principal of Southside Middle School where he remained until 1977 when he was named Asst/Assoc. Superintendent of Robeson County Schools. He retired as Assoc. Superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County in 1992, but continued to work in education as Project Director for the Robeson County Communities in Schools program from 1992-2004.
Donald also believed it necessary to be politically active working local polling sites, then serving as chairman of the Robeson County Democratic Party from 1995-1996 before running for and being elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives where he served Districts 87 & 48 from 1997-2004.
A proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Donald carried their precepts of "Manly deeds, scholarship, & love for all mankind" throughout his life. Community service awards and recognitions are too numereous to list, but to note a few are the naming of the Donald A. Bonner Public Library in Rowland in 2007, inducted into the NC High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame (First African American President of that Association), and being named to the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2018.
Donald was married to the late Elizabeth Parnell Bonner and was a faithful member of New Hope UMC (formerly Cedar Grove) from childhood serving it and the Methodist Conference in many capacities.
Donald is survived by children Muriel Boyd, Vannassa Caston, Glenwood Barbee, Lorre' Bonner, and nephew considered a son, Melvin Covington; one sister, Doris Odom (Pete), nephews Roosevelt Odom Jr. , and Kevin Odom (Debra) niece Vicki Brown (Michael) ; 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, 5 great-nieces, and a host of cousins from the McGirt family as well as many nieces and nephews from the Parnell family.
In lieu of flowers the family request that a contribution be made to New Hope United Methodist Church, Post Office Box 718, Rowland, North Carolina 28383.
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New Hope United Methodist Church
Post Office Box 718, Rowland NC 28383
In lieu of flowers make a contribution to New Hope United Methodist Church, Rowland, North Carolina.