A child of God inhabited this earth on August 23, 1934 in Shelby, Mississippi. Her birth name, Nellie Mae Harroway blessed unto James and Mae Willie Harroway. She would reminisce of her childhood years as an atmosphere of southern wisdom and unconditional love. At the age of eleven she surrendered her life to the one and only Almighty God knowing that with Him by her side she would not faulter but find favor in his word.
She was a proud graduate from Bolivar County Training School in 1953. During her high school tenure, she was a majorette and represented her school on the debate team. This is when she met, courted and eventually married Fred E. Bonner. This marriage blessed them with six children; Derek Roland, Capril Charmaine, Deborah Anne, Hermeione Mechele, Carol Leslie and Marc Edward.
Nellie Mae was proud of her Mississippi Roots, sharing stories, whispers and the history of growing up in the south. This knowledge followed her throughout the years, strengthening her to become the woman she was. Strong in self and fearful of God.
Her spouse enlisted in the military in 1954. Thus, begun the family travels to Maryland, Hawaii, Vallejo, California and various communities in the county of San Diego. Eventually they would settle in neighborhood of Chesterton Navy Housing and subsequently to Birdland.
Nellie and her family united with the Linda Vista Second Baptist Church in the 60’s. Initially she served on various auxiliaries, but the Lord called on her to be a door keeper in his army – thus Usher Board #1. For more than 35 years she braved the likes of misbehaving kids, long standing days, and Holy Ghost Patrons. When she wasn’t ushering, she would don her Sunday best. Her suits, dresses and shoes, coupled with a tilted hat is what she became known for. She diligently studied the word, while encouraging others to do so, making it known that they were responsible for their own salvation. In the early 70’s she began working outside of the home. First as a nurse’s aide at Vista Knolls in Kearny Mesa then at Miramar Naval Exchange in customer service. Subsequently she would pursue her dream and became a licensed cosmetologist. Her journey began at Simms Coffiers in Linda Vista, followed by Chic Hair Fashions in San Diego. Again, having the opportunity to share in wisdom, laughter and pleasantries, either place is where you could come and “sit a while.” Besides caring for hair, she was known as a seamstress, arts and craft mentor, décor persona and a cook of all seasons, and could crochet… crochet… crochet!!! You were always welcome in her home. Unless she had to ask you (Did I Sleep with You Last Night?) Southern sayings, home remedies and a sprinkle of down-home cooking was her welcome mat and her door was always open. Throughout the years she would host many
barbecue’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas meals, card parties or just serve you when you came by. Many would sit for hours listening to her talk and share. Afraid of no one or anything other than the LORD. She retired in 1986. In her lifetime she witnessed the birth and blessing of many grandchildren and great grandchildren, the Joy of her life. Grands-Brandee, Hajar, Brynn, Ryan, Maya, James, Benjamin, Justin, (in Memoriam) Roland and Jesayha. Great Grands-Isaiah, Paris Bianca, Brayden, London, Audrianna, Alexandra,and Jamison.
It was her oldest granddaughter, Brandee who would give her the name of Sugar. The only name that all her grandchildren knew. If someone would call the house asking for Nellie Mae or Mrs. Bonner they would respond “no one lives here by that name”.
Nellie Mae Bonner was called to rest on November 23, 2019. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Willie Mae Harroway; daughters, Capril and Deborah; grandson, Justin; sister, Emma Tell; brothers, Maurice and James Harroway; brothers-in-law, Kenneth and Jerry Bonner.
Survived by her Husband, Fred E Bonner, Sons; Derek Bonner (Lonnice) and Marc Bonner (Carla) Daughters; Hermeione Bonner and Carol Frazier, Son-in-Law Barry Thomas, Brother-in-Law, Lionel Bonner (Peggy) Sister-in-law, Ella Mae Harroway, Grandson Ryan Nunley (Diane). Grands and Great Grands and many loving relatives and friends.
We are blessed to have known and been in the presence of this remarkable woman of God
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