Gordon Lloyd Bonander passed away on April 15, 2017 at the age of 93 in Turlock, CA.
Gordon was born in Kingsburg, CA on February 23, 1923. He was the third son of Joe and Esther Bonander. At the age of 2, Gordon moved to Turlock with his family and two more brothers and two sisters were added to the family.
He attended Johnson Joint School, a two room schoolhouse serving students from both Merced and Stanislaus Counties. He then attended Livingston High School for 3 years, transferring to Turlock High School for his senior year.
Gordon served in US Army Counter-Intelligence in Korea in the late 1940’s. He was offered a commission if he would re-enlist, but he declined that opportunity, instead going to college at San Jose State, followed by dental school at UOP which was located in San Francisco.
In 1952 he married Mary Lou Youngdale. She worked in San Francisco while he finished his last 2 years of dental school. They returned to Turlock where he established his practice. Not only did Gordon practice general dentistry, but he was an oral surgeon and an orthodontist as well. He was loved by his patients for his quirky sense of humor and his tendency to sing while he was busy working on them. There are many beautiful smiles out there, courtesy of his desire to save teeth and his dedication to orthodontics.
Gordon served on the board of Emanuel Hospital and as President of the Dental Society. He enjoyed teaching Junior High Sunday School at Turlock Covenant Church where he also sang in the choir. In recent years, he sang in the choir at Covenant Village where he and Mary Lou have resided for nearly a decade. He was a charter member of Cornerstone Covenant Church.
Missions were near and dear to his heart. In 1971 he traveled to Congo and stayed for two months, establishing a dental clinic in conjunction with the Covenant hospital there. He loved caring for the dental need of missionaries and their families when they were home on furlough. He and Mary Lou enjoyed giving to mission causes both foreign and local.
Gordon was an accomplished acrobatic pilot in his younger days. He was an avid golfer and continued to play several days a week until an injury last year forced him to give it up. He was a runner and ran the Bay to Breakers with a son-in-law and brother-in-law. He was an enthusiastic snow skier and enjoyed that sport well into his 80’s, skiing locally and often in Sun Valley, Idaho with family and friends as well as around the country on Elderhostel trips.
He and Mary Lou and their children enjoyed travel trips in their trailer, not just in California, but in national parks in other states as well. He and Mary Lou traveled with Dr. David Stenzel, a professor of history at CSUS, who led many educational trips to various places around the world. Gordon went on more than 50 Elderhostel trips, and he and Mary Lou traveled to locations in Europe, Africa, South America, China, Australia and various places in North America as well.
Gordon was a kind and generous man whose Christian faith was the cornerstone of his life. He had a strong work ethic which he passed on to his children. He delighted in his grandchildren.
Gordon was preceded in death by his three brothers, Emory, Merrill, and Gerald.
Gordon is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; his children, Ruth (Rick) Gaffney, Tina (Brad) Bates, Ann (Ed) McNulty), and Joe (Sue) Bonander; eleven grandchildren and one great-grandson. He is also survived by his brother, Paul Bonander and his two sisters, Shirley Kaubish and Shilloy Hollingsworth.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 21 at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mission Springs (1050 Lockhart Gulch Rd. Scotts Valley, CA 95066) or Covenant World Relief (8303 W. Higgins Rd. Chicago, IL 60631).