Gerald Leo Donner

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Gerald Leo “Sonny” Donner, 86, of Manila, passed from this life Monday, June 24, 2019, at the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro. Born in Manila to the late Bill and Emma Barker Donner, he was a 1949 graduate of Manila High School and later served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a retired farmer, land owner, and independent businessman. A steward of the land and civic minded, he served his community and county in many capacities. He was one of the founding directors of the West Mississippi County Conservation District and also served the Mississippi County Conservation District following the merger for a total of 33 years. Gerald was a longtime member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Blytheville and the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization dedicated to promoting charitable, religious, and social welfare works.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his first wife, Martha Shedd Donner, and a sister, Diann Powell.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Deborah McWilliams Donner of the home; two sons, Gerry Donner (Jane) of Siloam Springs and Allen Donner (Debbie) of Manila; one daughter, Alicia Marie Phipps of Knoxville, Tenn.; two sisters, Naida Lamb of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Barbara Capehart of Germantown, Tenn. He also leaves five grandchildren, Heath Donner, Adam Donner, Katie Evans, Catherine Donner, Taycie Phipps; seven great-grandchildren, and the very special caregivers who cared for Gerald during his declining health.

The family will receive visitors Tuesday evening from 6-8 at the Howard Funeral Service Chapel in Manila, with Mass of Christian Burial held 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 26, in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Blytheville with Father Thomas J. Hart as celebrant. Burial will follow in Manila Cemetery.

Friends may sign the online guest register at