Ken Bonner loved his community, the newspaper business and the Tennessee Volunteers, family and friends remember. They also remember that voice and laugh.
Bonner passed away Sunday, Nov. 24, after a more than yearlong battle with cancer. He was 64.
“He is going to be missed dearly,” said longtime friend Robbie Copenhaver. “It’s a big loss to the community.”
Bonner graduated from Scottsboro High School in 1973 and later graduated with his degree in mass communications from the University of North Alabama. He began in the insurance business before moving to journalism, where he ran his own weekly newspaper in 1994.
Bonner later worked at the Times-Free Press in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before joining The Jackson County Sentinel in February 2004.
“Ken was a great guy who loved The Sentinel and the people who are The Sentinel,” said Sentinel Sports Editor Jason Bowen, who joined the newspaper a year later. “He was very helpful to me during my time here work-wise, but he was a good friend, too.”
Bonner served many years as a radio personality, covering sporting events across Jackson County. He also served as the voice of the Scottsboro Wildcats on Friday nights at Trammell Stadium.
“He just meant so much to the community,” Copenhaver said. “He loved Scottsboro High School and loved calling games.”
Sentinel Business Manager Wendy Wilson said Bonner was one of a kind.
“He touched so many people in his life with kindness and love,” Wilson said. “God has gained an angel.”
Former Sentinel Publisher Brandon Cox, who now works in Kentucky, said he leaned on Bonner during his time in Scottsboro.
“Anything good that happened at The Sentinel during my time in Scottsboro was the result of Ken Bonner taking me under his wing,” Cox said. “Ken’s wealth of experience and wisdom in the newspaper business challenged me and was the driving force behind several projects to position that newspaper for a long, bright future in community journalism. He was an excellent colleague and an even better friend. I hope to be half the newspaperman he was.”
Bonner joined The Sentinel as a staff writer and later served as managing editor before moving to advertising director. He retired in December 2018.
He taught Sunday school and served as a deacon at First Baptist Church in Scottsboro for many years.
Funeral services were held Monday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m., at the church. Burial followed in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Bonner battled it like a champion, still working. Despite his illness, he remained there for his co-workers.
“He was interested in you as a person and not just as a co-worker,” Bowen said. “He was that way with everyone here. You could hear his laugh from anywhere in the building. I can still hear it in my mind.”