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Obituary: Robert R. Sonnenburg ’49

Robert R. Sonnenburg, age 87, passed away peacefully at home in Ten Mile, TN on October 16, 2010.

Robert was the son of former mayor Dr. and Mrs. Willard M. Sonnenburg. He was a 1941 graduate of North High. He served in the army and fought in Germany in WWII. In 1949, after he graduated from Antioch with a degree in Civil Engineering, Robert married Barbara Hast of Pittsburgh, PA, a 1948 Antioch grad. They moved to Cornell University, where Bob earned his master's degree at Cornell College in Engineering. His master's thesis was on the Sheboygan Sewage system as a model of high efficiency.

Bob worked for several different companies before ending up in 1959 in Memphis, TN, working for Eller and Reaves. Some years later, Bob and a fellow engineer left the company and formed a partnership called Hilsdon & Sonnenburg. They successfully ran this partnership for almost 20 years when Bob retired.

During their first 10 years of marriage, Bob and Barbara were blessed with four sons and after the move to Memphis, they had a daughter. Bob and Bobbie purchased a camper trailer shortly after the Memphis move and did much traveling with their five children every summer. Bob also had a wood workshop in the garage and made many beautiful pieces for his home, his children and his friends.

After retirement, Bob and Bobbie traveled with groups to many adventurous and exciting parts of the world. Their final move was to a beautiful waterfront home on Watts Bar Lake in East Tennessee.

Bob is survived by his wife Barbara, who also graduated from Antioch College; four sons, Rick (FAY) Sonnenburg, Monument, CO, William (Earline) Sonnenburg, Signal Mountain,TN, John (Sally) Sonnenburg,Urbandale, IA, Roger (Teresa) Sonnenburg, Mishawaka, IN and one daughter, Peggy (Mark) Griffin. He is further survived by 10 grandchildren; two brothers, Don Sonnenburg, Marietta,GA, William Sonnenburg, Sheboygan and two sisters, Doris S. Beach, Sheboygan and Ruth Truttschel, of the villages, FL. He is preceded in death by his sister, Mary S. Fletcher.

Bobbie adds: “We all have wonderful memories of Bob, and all his children said he had set great examples for them to raise their children. He will be sorely missed. I would love hearing from any “old” Antioch friends at (423) 334-5122.

Barbara “Bobbie” (Hast) Sonnenburg ‘48 249 Red Cloud Lane, Ten Mile, TN 3788"