Irwin Harlan (Dan) Bonds, age 93, passed away on Wednesday in Turlock, CA. He was born in Damascus AR to E. Vernie and Susan Pierce Bonds.
He was preceded in death by his parents E. Vernie and Susan Pierce Bonds; brothers Tom R. and Elvie (Doc) Bonds; sisters Juanita Tompson, Leota Parrish Keener, Johnnie Grosse, Julie Anderson; and daughter Patricia Combs. He is survived by his wife Zula Pauline Bonds of Turlock, CA, children: Linda Preston of Turlock CA, Michael Bonds of Lakewood WA, Debra Bonds of Great Falls MT, and LaVon Bonds Anderson (Doug) of Turlock CA; a half-sister Dorothy Wiens of Galva KS, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren.
He married Zula Pauline Bass in January of 1946. He was baptized into the Harmony Primitive Baptist Church in 1952 where he served as a Deacon, and he and his family attended regularly.
Dan came to California at the age of 19 years old. He was involved in farm-related agriculture from 1939-2006, working for Wayne Salter from 1939-42. He worked for Ed Baldwin in the early 1950’s, then for Dave Wilson Nursery from 1964-2003. He closed out his retirement working for Hughson Chemical Co. from 2003-06 as an Orchard Consultant at the age of 85 years old. In 1968 he received his Pest Control Advisory License from the State of CA. He received education in agriculture from Modesto Jr. College under the tutelage of Professor Laverne Donker.
Dan wrote a book, “Staying in Step with Mother Nature”, for friends and family, reflecting his experience and expertise in the development of the Drip Irrigation System, multiple tree and grafting techniques of almonds, walnuts, peaches, apricots, and nectarines that he learned over the years while under the employment of Dave Wilson Nursery.
Dan and Pauline bought property and built a home in Twain Harte, CA in 1981 where they resided until 1989. They moved back to the valley, buying a mobile home in Hilmar, CA where they lived until 2011, when they moved into Turlock with their daughter LaVon and husband Doug due to declining health.
As a young child, music was a major part of his famiiy’s daily life. At the age of 8 he got his first mandolin made by Waldo Music Co, in Saginaw, MI, made in 1896, which he donated to the Hilmar-Stevinson Historical Society.
In 1990 Dan formed a band, “Yesterday’s Country Roads”, which included Dan on the mandolin, his wife Pauline on vocals, Patty Briscoe on the bass, Juanita Coburn on guitar, and beloved and talented friend Brian Cogburn on the fiddle. They played at many social events, including political functions, county fairs, private home functions, Senior Care facilities, Blue Grass festivals, and many more ending in 2006 as health declined. He was a member of the bands “The Foothill Ramblers” and “The Bunk House Boys”.
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the professional staff at Elness Convalescent Hospital in Turlock and Bristol Hospice Care of Merced who were his caregivers until his passing into the Lord’s presence.
Visitation will be on Friday, January 10th at Allen Mortuary. Graveside Service will be at Lakewood Memorial Park on Saturday, January 11th at 11 am. Remembrances may be made to the Diabetes Foundation or the charity of your choice. Please leave memories and condolences at www.allenmortuary.com.