Home Obituaries Obituary: Van Thomas Ponder Sr.

Obituary: Van Thomas Ponder Sr.


Van Thomas Ponder, Sr., a longtime resident of Dothan, Ala., passed away early on Saturday morning, Feb. 4, 2023, at Extendicare Health & Rehabilitation Center. He was 92 years old.

Mr. Ponder was born and raised on his family’s farm in Nashville, Ark. He joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at what was then known as Camp Rucker.  While stationed there, he met his future wife, Mary Nell Calhoun, at Oscar’s Café. They were married for 64 years before her passing in 2016.

In addition to his wife, Ponder was preceded in death by his parents, Bennett Garrett Ponder and Cliffa Brown Ponder and four sisters and brothers-in-law; Loraine (Francis) Ellis, Laverne (Bill) Carmen, Zelma (Bernice) Garner, and Benny Ann (Walt) Gilfilen.  

After his service in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict era, Ponder worked on his wife’s family farm outside of Columbia. He moved his young family to Dothan in 1961.  Ponder enjoyed a long career with West Building Materials. After retirement, he enjoyed playing golf and staying busy with his farming interests. 

Surviving relatives include: two daughters, Charlotte (Winston) Schwartz, Longwood, Fla., and Mary Lou (Dan) Ponder, Auburn, Ala.; a son, Tommy Ponder (Gail) Ponder, Dothan, Ala.; four grandchildren, Joseph (Lindsay) Schwartz, Longwood, Fla., Catherine (Daaron) Vanstone, Bainbridge, Ga., Elizabeth (Grant) Faulk, Dothan, Ala., and Thomas Ponder, Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

Ponder is also survived by his five great-grandchildren, Henry Vanstone, Laura Faulk, Will Faulk, Andrew Faulk, Rachael Schwartz and Audrey Schwartz and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be a private family service at a later date. Mr. Ponder will be laid to rest next to his wife in Memory Hill Cemetery in Dothan. Holman- Headland Mortuary and Cremations are in charge of the arrangements.

Memorials for Mr. Ponder can be made to the University of Alabama Men’s Golf, “Swinging Elephant Club,” 1201 Coliseum Drive, Room 319, Tuscaloosa, AL  35487 or to the charity of your choice.

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