W. Le Roy Bonnell, M. D. Both in the broad fields of civic and social activity as well as in devotion to tho interests of his profession, Doctor Bonnell has had a notable career during his residence in the State of Oklahoma. As a past president and now secretary of the Oklahoma Homeopathic Society it is very probable that Doctor Bonnell is the most prominent homeopathic physician in Oklahoma. He is a man of unusual breadth of interests, and while the medical fraternity knows him on account of his prominence in medical organizations he has also been a citizen of action in his home town of Chickasha, and over the state at large is well known to practically all the members of the Masonic order and of the Court of Honor.
Doctor Bonnell was born at Ashtabula, Ohio, June 6, 1883, a son of William R. and Rosa A. .(Booth) Bonnell. His father has for thirty-eight years been locomotive engineer in Ohio in the service of the New York Central lines, and now has a run on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. Among the historic railroad accidents which are well remembered by the people of the past generation was the destruction of many lives which went down with the passenger train while crossing a bridge at Ashtabula, the foundations of which had been weakened by flood. Just a short time before this accident William R. Bonnell had taken his own train across that bridge. Doctor Bonnell is the only son in a family of nine children. His seven living sisters are: Mrs. James Wood of Ashtabula; Mrs. Floyd Mack of Lockport, New York; Mrs. M. B. Walkley of Madison, Ohio; Mrs. J. C. Bates of Ashtabula; Mrs. Arba Willis, of Geneva, Ohio; Mildred Lucile and Esther Estelle, both of Ashtabula. The Bonnell family traces its ancestry in America back to 1638, when the first settlement was made in New Jersey. Members of the family were in Washington’s army during the Revolution, and among them was Capt. John Bonnell. Doctor Bonnell’s mother’s parents were early settlers of Ohio, his maternal grandfather being a merchant and steamship owner at Ashtabula.
At the risk of some repetition there should be quoted a brief pen sketch of Doctor Bonnell by Judge Eugene Hamilton, which in a few sentences indicate how vigorously he strove when a young man to gain his station in a learned profession. Judge Hamilton says: “While only a freshman high school student, he worked his own way through high school, buying his own books and clothes. While yet a school boy with very limited means, and knowing his two hands as his only support, he decided on a profession. With a small purse of sixty-five dollars and a barrel of determination and clean character he entered college to become a doctor. Working night and day for four years and also meeting obligations amounting to over twenty-seven hundred dollars would make another interesting article. In June, 1907, he graduated from Cleveland Medical College with honor. His first physician’s shingle was hung out at Chickasha, Oklahoma. By his pleasing personality and ability his success was assured from the start.”
In addition to the above it should be noted that after graduating from the Ashtabula High School he entered the employ of an oil and gas corporation, and was advancing rapidly in the line of promotions, when he determined to study medicine. It was without financial assistance from any source that he set out to work his way through college. In high school he had taken a combination of courses with the study of medicine in view, and therefore was well advanced when in 1903 he entered the Cleveland Homeopathic Medical College, which later became the medical department of the University of Ohio. Until his graduation in 1907 he labored incessantly, meeting the many expenses of his college education. His broader success as a physician is well attested by the fact that during the administrations of both Governor Lee Cruce and Governor Robert L. Williams he has been a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners, and is now vice president of board of examiners. Another distinction is that he was chairman for Oklahoma of the American Institute of Homeopathy for four years. Other honors already mentioned are those pertaining to his official connection with the Oklahoma Homeopathic Society.
Dr. Bonnell was married May 17, 1913, to Miss Clara Alice Witt of Taos, New Mexico, who was for five years a student in the Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha.
Dr. Bonnell has been a member of the Methodist Church for twenty-four years. He is an active member of the Grady County Farm Bureau and the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce, and has taken a lively interest in the upbuilding of his town. Partially through his efforts is due the establishment in Chickasha of the Oklahoma College for Women. He is a member of the Phi Epsilon Rho medical college fraternity, is a member of the National Geographic Society, and is vice president and director of the Harden-Roche Mortgage Company of Chickasha, which is the largest loan and mortgage company in that part of Oklahoma.
His Masonic connections are of special note. he belongs to the Blue Lodge at Chickasha, the Scottish Rite Consistory at Guthrie and to India Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Oklahoma City. He is a charter member of the National Masonic Research Society. Other affiliations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias lodges at Chickasha. For the last six years Dr. Bonnell has acted in the capacity of state chancellor of the Court of Honor, and in that office has the general supervision over all lodges in both Oklahoma and Texas. In the Court of Honor he has for eight years been a delegate to the national meetings of the order, and has done a great deal to advance its interests and organization in the Southwest.