The Dorothy Mae Bonner Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to honor the life of Dorothy Mae “Mother” Bonner. This fund became an endowment in 2012 and was renamed to also honor the life of Byron Christopher Berry, Sr. in 2022.
Mrs. Bonner (1921-2004) was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. She was a graduate of Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago where she was a member of the National Honor Society.
In 1942, she married Bishop William Bonner who was the pastor of the Greater Mount Olive Church of God In Christ in Aurora. As the First Lady of her church and of the Sixth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Illinois, Mrs. Bonner influenced the lives of others through her gift of an understanding heart.
According to friends, Mrs. Bonner was known as Mother Bonner for her skills as a master caregiver to those with whom she came into contact. She assumed a quiet profile in life, preferring to encourage the success of others.
Her many acts of kindness will now be publicly recognized through the awarding of scholarships that carry her name.
Mrs. Bonner was survived by her three children Enyess Allen, Willie Etta Wright and Dorothy Jones. She was preceded in death by her son Charles. Her husband Bishop Bonner passed away in 2016.
Elder Byron Christopher Berry wore many hats. He was a loving father of three, a dedicated son, an adoring grandson, and a friend to many.
He was ordained as an Elder and also awarded the title of Praise and Worship Leader.
He shared his love of music by serving as a Praise and Worship leader for not only his church but other churches as well.
He loved music and became the Minister of Music for the Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ in Aurora, Illinois where his grandfather, Bishop William Haven Bonner, was the pastor.
He was ordained as an Elder in the Church of God in Christ by his grandfather, Bishop William Haven Bonner.
He captivated audiences with his thought- provoking sermons.
He travelled far and wide to inspire and motivate others to strive for excellence.
He not only devoted his time to church activities but also spent nearly twenty years as talented and popular hair stylist.
Although he worked in several hair salons he would make house calls to style hair for the homebound.
Later in life he furthered his education by achieving a doctoral degree in Biblical Studies.
Dr. Byron Berry like his grandmother, Mother Dorothy Mae Bonner, spread love through his generosity, culinary talents, sense of humor, and attentiveness to those in need.
His infectious, captivating, and unforgettable laugh was a source of joy and comfort to others. His kind demeanor made you feel like you mattered.