Thursday, May 2, 2013

Uncle Sonny

I can't believe it's been 4 months since I posted.   Our family lost a beloved member in April after a prolonged decline in his health.   We will miss you Uncle Sonny.

 I come from a large farming family.  My mother was the eldest of 9 children in the family (5 girls, 4 boys) (Kathleen, Ernest, Vera, Alfred (aka Sonny), Robert, Minnie Sue (aka Sissy), Freddie, Rosalie and Clara).  My uncle Ernest died in a farming accident before I was born and my grandfather died the year I was born (1949) .   At last count I think I have 26 cousins (just from my mom's side of the family). 

Grandmother died in 1963 and the farm could have been broken up when 4 of the 8 remaining siblings wanted to sell their portions. The farm was created in such a way that if a portion were sold to anyone outside the family, the entire farm would have to be sold. The remaining 4 (Sonny, Kathleen, Vera and Rosalie) kept their shares in the original farm and Sonny paid them yearly dividends from the profits until a few years ago when my mother (Kathleen) developed colon cancer. At that time Uncle Sonny and Aunt Alma bought the remaining shares from Vera, Kathleen and Rosalie.

Uncle Sonny assumed the management of the farm when he was in his early 20's (1949) and continued to farm until just a few years ago in his late 70's.  He provided for the family all those years.   He not only was a great farmer, but he became the one we all looked up to, essentially the patriarch of the family. 

His health began to decline over the past few years and his memory was not what it once was.  He suffered several strokes which made it hard to understand him.   Over the past few months he began to experience falls, the last one resulted in a broken rib and punctured lung.  He suffered a heart attack which ultimately led to his demise.  The small church in Waldenburg was packed for his funeral with relatives from California, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee,  Texas, Mississippi and Virginia who all came to pay their respects.  

This is my favorite photo of Uncle Sonny - he had a great sense of humor and was always kidding us.  I loved to hear him laugh.  This picture was taken at one of the biannual family reunions in the late 1990's.

Below is a scan of his funeral announcement.   The photo of his immediate family (1 daughter and her husband, two granddaughters and 4 great grandchildren) was taken at his wife Alma's 90th birthday party in December 2012.

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