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Sumter County Commissioner dies

Isaac Bonner had just entered his third term as Sumter County commissioner when he was asked to give a speech at an event in Panola this past Saturday.

Although Bonner had undergone heart surgery some years ago, he appeared to be in good condition as he spoke his final words. But the unexpected occurred when the commissioner collapsed and died shortly after taking his seat.

“He wasn’t sick,” commission clerk Mary Dawson said. “It was just something that happened so suddenly.”

Bonner, who had been on the Sumter Commission since 1994, is survived by his wife and two children.

“The family is doing well,” Dawson said.

The funeral is planned for noon on Saturday, July 8, 2006, at North Sumter Junior High. His remains will lie in state from 11 a.m. to noon at the school and visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday at Mt. Pleasant in Panola.

As for the empty seat in the commission, the governor has the right to appoint someone to fill the opening, unless there is a county law to prevent him from doing so.

However, according to the executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama Buddy Sharpless, there is no such law.

“I’m still in shock over it,” County Commissioner Ronnie Beard said. “The governor can give us another commissioner. He can’t give me another friend.”

– Information from The Tuscaloosa News was used in this report.