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William David Bonilla

29th president - elected at the 1964 convention held in Bensenville, Illinois. Served one term.

He was born in Calvert, Texas, started school in a segregated Mexican country school but was later allowed to attend Calvert public schools, from where he graduated with high honors. At Calvert High School, he played football and basketball, was on the track team and served as president of his senior class. The second of eight children, he helped support himself by working at a grocery store, drug store, and service station, and in the cotton harvest.

After graduating from high school, he worked his way through Baylor University in Waco, Texas, be serving meals in the dormitory dining room. He was a good student and made good grades. He was active in the Newman Club, the Pre-law Club and Alphi Chi Honorary Scholastic Society. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951 and continued his studies at Baylor Law School, where he became president of the freshman class. In 1952, he transferred to the University of Texas School of Law where he became a member of the Texas Law Review. He worked for a law firm in order to pay his expenses in law school. After receiving his law degree in 1953, he opened his first law office in Corpus Christi and became a senior member of the law firm of Bonilla, Read, Bonilla and Berlanga.

He held every LULAC office of Council #1, was State Director for two terms, National Legal Advisor and National Secretary, secretary and chairperson of the SER Board of Directors and secretary of the LULAC Foundation.

Other positions that he has held and honors that he has received include,

  • Member of the National Guard (1947-53)
  • Received the Outstanding Citizen Award by the United Married Couples Club (1962)
  • Texas Good Neighbor Commissioner (1962-65)
  • Founder of the Mexican Unity Council of South Texas (1974)
  • Member of National Advisory Council of the office of Economic Opportunity Commission
  • Substitute Corporation Judge for three terms
  • Chair of the Board of a Corpus Christi Television Station

He and his wife had six children - Mary Helen Battles, William David Jr., Jonathan Richey, Elizabeth Annette, Martha Suzanne, and Robert Patrick.