Clark J. Bonner was a nephew of William A. Clark and J. Ross Clark, the builders of the Los Alamitos Sugar Factory.  When J. Ross Clark died in 1927, Bonner who had been a successful businessman in his own right, assumed control of J. Ross Clark’s financial interests.  He already controlled the financial interests of William A. Clark, Jr. (who used his fortune to found the Los Angeles Philarmonic, and built a huge library which he donated to UCLA).  When J. Ross Clark died, Bonner also assumed control of the Montana Land Company.  He led the full scale transfer of beet operations to the Holly Factory in Santa Ana, and as the Alamitos area land became more valuable, he tried to develop that land while transferring beet growing to the Imperial Valley.  He tried to develop the land north of the Long Beach airport and develop a surrounding upcale community he called Lakewood Country Club.  The Depression finally put those plans on hold, and as World War II approached he sold land to Donald Douglas to build his aircraft plant.    After the war one of his last big transactions was to sell the East Ranch in Los Alamitos to Frank Vessels, who would later build the race track there.

This was originally published in the LA Times on Jan. 14, 1947

Death Takes C.J. Bonner, Sr.

Clark Joaquin Bonner, Sr., 57-year old President of the Montana Land Co. and Southland business leader, died yesterday at a Los Angeles hospital after a brief illness caused by overwork, according to officials of his company.

Resident of this area, since he came here as a child from Rochester, N.Y., Mr. Bonner figured prominently in the development of Lakewood Village, Lakewood City and Mayfair, residential and business projects of North Long Beach.

Services Tomorrow

Funeral services, under direction of Pierec Bros., will be conducted at the Hollywood Cemetery Chapel.  Entombment will follow in the family vault at the Hollywood Mausoleum.

Mr. Bonner, who was born on Oct. 28, 1889, was a nephew of former U.S. Sen. William A. Clark and of J.,Ross Clark, pioneer railroad builder.  He began his career in general insurance and was the founder of the Bonner-Campbell Co.

A Princeton graduate, and a World War I veteran Mr. Bonner later headed the Montana Land Co. and was responsible for the Lakewood development, ads well as bringing the Douglas Aircraft Co. plant to the community.

He served as a director of Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, as President of the Los Alamitos Sugar Company, and the Lakewood Water & POwer Co., and as a director of the Citizens National Bank.

Mr. Bonner leaves a widow, Violet Bonner of 510 Arden St., and two sons, Clark Bonner, Jr. of Lakewood and William Ross Bonner of Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 

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