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Don Bonar

  • On July 8, 2023

Don Bonar, 84 of Granville, Ohio, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. He was born in Murraysville, WV on July 7, 1938, the son of Nelson Edward Bonar II and Ada Polk Bonar. Beloved husband of Marty; loving father of Mary (Ken) Urish II; grandfather of Katie, Isabella and Ken Urish III.

Don grew up on the family farm in West Virginia, started his education in a one room schoolhouse, and became a highly respected professor in mathematics. After graduating from Ravenswood High School, he was awarded a four-year Board of Governors Scholarship to West Virginia University, where he received the B.S. in Chemical Engineering and the M.S. in Mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from The Ohio State University.

He was a professor, mentor, and leader at Denison University for more than 50 years. He joined the faculty in 1965, teaching mathematics, statistics, and computer science. He served as chair of the Mathematical Sciences Department for more than six years, served on the President’s Advisory Board, received the prestigious R.C. Good Fellowship, was named the first holder of the George R. Stibitz Distinguished Professorship in Mathematics and Computer Science, and received several awards for teaching excellence. He published two textbooks in mathematics, as well as scores of articles, one of which he co-authored with an Albert Einstein collaborator and co-author, the renowned mathematician, Paul Erdős. Having an Erdős number of 1 is a historical accomplishment.

Don was also a big part of the Granville community, serving on the school board from 1973 to 1980, taking on the vice presidency for three years and the presidency for one. He served on the board of the Licking County Joint Vocational (now C-TEC) school board, and he volunteered on the Granville Foundation.

Don was known for his care and devotion to the Bonar farm in Ravenswood, West Virginia, which had been in his family since 1869, but most of all for his abiding love for his wife Marty, a long-time Granville school teacher, and his daughter Mary Martha Bonar.

A September 16 memorial service is being planned at Denison University. Please address condolence notes to the Bonar family at PO Box 306, Sewickley, PA 15143. In place of flowers, please send donations to his daughter Mary Bonar to be used as a Denison scholarship and education fund as a memorial.

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