Cover photo for Billy Ray Bonds's Obituary
Billy Ray Bonds Profile Photo

Billy Ray Bonds

February 12, 1942 — January 6, 2024

Billy Ray Bonds

Billy Ray Bonds

Billy Bonds, 81 of Reedley, CA left this life on January 5, 2024. Billy was born in Fresno, California on February 12, 1942, the second child of Voyd H. and Lou E. (Turman) Bonds. Billy spent his early childhood in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area and moved with his family to the Reedley area in 1957.

In 1960, he married Carolyn Gail McDonald, with whom he had three children, Jimmie Dale, Darrell Ray, and Curtis Lee. Billy was predeceased by his parents, wife Carolyn, two sons Jimmie and Curtis and his three siblings, brothers Lloyd and Leon Bonds and sister Vera (Bonds) Smith. His remaining son Darrell, grandson Matthew, and granddaughter-in-law Guadalupe (Chavez) Bonds, passed away together as a result of a tragic event. Survivors include two grandchildren Joshua and Kaila, three great-grandchildren, and many beloved extended family members and friends.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Billy became a master mechanic, tinkering with automobiles and motorcycles in his youth, progressing on to diesel engines as a life-time career. Billy was well known in the Reedley community as a custodian and bus driver for the Kings Canyon Unified School District, beginning at Great Western, progressing to Riverview, and ultimately moving on to Reedley High School’s bus yard. Many Reedley students can recall being greeted by Mr. Bonds' “Good Morning......” as they stepped up into the bus to start the school day; he knew them all by name. After an accident that curtailed his mechanic’s career, he and Carolyn began a hearth pad business, creating custom pads for wood stoves. Their creative designs were requested throughout the central valley, and extended to the central coast area. Billy had a passion for automobiles and was most proud of owning a Model “A” Ford and ‘57 Chevy; entering the ‘57 in numerous car shows including the Reedley “Street Faire” and ”Reedley Fiesta”

When his boys were young the family participated in Judo meets, served at the refreshment stand during school events, and assisted with newspaper routes. Billy and Carolyn started and ran the local Sears Outlet Store for many years helping meet the shopping and service needs of many local families.

In retirement, Billy enjoyed bicycling with his beloved canine companion “Gidget”, visiting casinos, and treating family and friends to a meal out or an ice cream treat. He participated in Relay for Life events with granddaughter-in-law Lupe to commemorate the lives of Curtis, Carolyn, and other family members who bravely fought their battles with Cancer. Billy enjoyed gifting family and friends with items he had collected over the years as a token of his love and friendship; he wanted them to know who he was and to remember his love for them. When

visiting, especially the “little ones”, he would say, “I’m your Uncle Billy “ or “Do you remember me, do you know who I am?”

Billy’s demise will leave a gaping hole in the lives of all who knew and loved him. We will treasure those memories and do our best to replicate his example of love and concern for family, friends, and community.


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