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Gragson, Bonnie, 1913-2007


Bonnie (Henley) Gragson was born February 8, 1913, in Mansfield, Arkansas, to James H. Henley and Elizabeth L. Cockrall Henley. She attended school in Mansfield, and married to Oran K. Gragson on December 21, 1934. The couple arrived in Nevada Christmas morning of that year, where Oran was employed in the construction of Hoover Dam. Except for brief periods in the 1930's when Oran was employed in highway construction in nearby Nevada cities, they lived in Las Vegas for more than 70 years. Bonnie completed the state board requirements and became a licensed practical nurse in 1950, after which she worked two years at UMC Hospital, and 13 years for Dr. Ross Sutherland. Later she was employed by Dr. Walter Norwood. She then retired from full-time employment to become the full-time "First Lady" of Las Vegas when Oran was elected mayor in 1959–1975. Bonnie joined the Mesquite Club in 1960 and but was also involved in a great variety of other community activities. She was also a charter member of the Emblem Club; a charter member of St. Jude's Auxiliary; Daylight Chapter; Eastern Star Daughters of the Nile; past president of the Eagle's Auxiliary and of the UMC Hospital Auxiliary; a charter member of the Valley Hospital Auxiliary; and St. Rose Dominican, among countless other charities and organizations. Bonnie still remained active with the Valley Hospital Auxiliary, after more than 20 years volunteer service. Bonnie passed away in on January 7, 2007 in Las Vegas.