|Birth: ||Jan. 29, 1913|
|Death: ||Mar. 30, 1981|
Leslie Lee Bonner, eldest child of Tom Robinson Bonner and Annie Laura Willard, was born at Bonnerville, Texas on January 29, 1913. At that time they were living in a house rented from Irvine Hale Bonner just west of the John Laird Bonner home place. Dr. W. N. Sneed attended the birth. As a youngster, Leslie often rode a jenny from Fairfield to visit his grandparents and other relatives in Bonnerville. Both Hope and John recalled one time when the three of them were working in a cotton field and Leslie caught a lizard and "operated on it." Leslie graduated from Teague High School and attended Texas University at Arlington, the University of Texas at Austin and graduated from Baylor University College of Medicine in Dallas. He also interned there. He married Catherine Grace Green on September 14, 1934 in Eureka, Texas. Leslie returned to Fairfield to practice medicine and but there was no hospital in the town. It was largely due to his efforts that the subscription drive was a success and Freestone County Hospital was erected in Fairfield. At his funeral, a physician from Dallas recalled that a patient who came to Dallas for surgery was told by the surgeon there that there was no better surgeon than Dr. Bonner in Fairfield. Leslie also ranched and was known for his herd of registered Brahma cattle which he began in the 1940s with money borrowed from Joyce; he used the LZ brand. He purchased land on the Trinity River from the Tyus family and ran cattle on it. He used the old Tyus family home as a camp house and hosted gatherings for relatives, friends, and other physicians there during deer season. Within the family, he was known as Leslie or Doc but the county at large knew him as Doctor Bonner. His office was on Mount Street just west of the courthouse in Fairfield. Leslie and Catherine made their home on S. Fairway just two houses south of Tom and Laura on land which Tom and Laura gave them. In the mid-1940s, they purchased land on Bateman Road from Joel Bonner and built a new brick home in 1947. Leslie was a past master of Fairfield Lodge No. 103, A.F.&A.M., and a member of the Scottish Rite, Shrine, and York Rite Masonic bodies. He was a member of Fairfield-Harmony Presbyterian Church where he served as Elder. Leslie and Catherine were parents of a son, Leslie Reid, and two daughters, Sally Rose and Catherine Ann. Catherine died December 4, 1975. After Catherine's death, Leslie married Clara Elizabeth "Bess" Manahan Harris, widow of Marvin Harris and next-door-neighbor to Laura. They continued to live in Leslie's house and Bess took good care of him. Forty-two years of practicing medicine in a rural setting took its toll on Leslie's health. He died March 30 1981 at Fairfield Memorial Hospital, an outgrowth of the hospital he helped found. He was buried with Masonic Rites with Past Grand Master Claude Austin officiating. When Bess died on March 2, 1997, she was buried beside her first husband in Fairfield Cemetery.
Fairfield Recorder, April 1981
Services Held for Noted Doctor
Funeral services were held for L. L. Bonner last week, bringing to an end a brillant medical career in Freestone County spanning some 42 years. Heralded by many of the most famous medical clinics in the nation as a gifted surgeon with much promise for greatness, Dr. Bonner chose, instead, to live out his life of service to his fellowman in the community and area where he was reared.
He was born Jan. 29, 1913, the son of the late Tom R. and Mrs. Laura Bonner of Fairfield and lived here all of his life. He died on March 30 following a lingering illeness in Fairfield Memorial Hospital, a facility which was born out of the old Freestone County Hospital which Dr. Bonner was instrumental in helping to build in the late 1940's,
Services were held at Kiber-Capps Funeral Home at 2 p.m., March 31 And internment followed in Bonner cemetery near Stewards Mill. Rev. Eugene Wood, pastor of Fairfield-Harmony Presbyterian Church officiated and Mrs. Watt Newman provided organ music.
Dr. Bonner was a member of the Presbyterian church, Masonic Lodge, Shrine and American Medical Association, and, until prevented by ill health, was actively involved in community affairs.
Survivors include his wife, Clara Elizabeth (Bess) Bonner of Fairfield; one son, Lesile Reed Bonner of Dallas; two daughters, Sally Bonner Awalt and Catherine Ann Bonner Eppes of Fairfield; one sister, Annie Laura Wood of Fairfield; three brothers, Edd R. Bonner, Hugh Bonner, and Tom R Bonner Jr, all of Fairfield; his mother, Mrs. Laura Bonner of Fairfield; eight grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Pallbearers were Michael Edd Bonner, Andrew Bonner, Forrest Wood Jr, Billy [sic Billie] Hugh Bonner Jr, Frank Watson Bonner, Warren David Awalt Jr, Jeffery Lee Awalt, Jack Mullen [sic Matthew] Eppes and Tom Reid Bonner.
Honorary Pallbearers were Dr. Dave Henry, Dr. James Jeter, Ben Bonner, and Freestone County Medical Society.
Kibler-Capps funeral home was in charge of arrangements
Tom Robinson Bonner (1891 - 1961)
Annie Laura Willard Bonner (1892 - 1981)
Catherine Grace Green Bonner (1914 - 1975)
Clara Elizabeth Manahan Bonner (1912 - 1997)*
Leslie Reid Bonner (1935 - 2015)*
Sally Rose Bonner Awalt (1939 - 1993)*
Leslie Lee Bonner (1913 - 1981)
Annie Laura Bonner Wood (1914 - 2002)*
Edd Robinson Bonner (1917 - 1986)*
Billie Hugh Bonner (1921 - 2001)*
Tom Bonner (1935 - 2009)*
Maintained by: Michael Edd Bonner
Originally Created by: Patricia
Record added: Nov 30, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16866652