You are here

Barbara "Bobbie" Ellen Sonnenburg '48

Barbara “Bobbie” Ellen Sonnenburg - the former Memphis City Councilwoman and Memphis School Board member - died Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at the age of 86. Barbara was born on Jan. 16, 1927, in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she grew up with her two brothers. She was preceded in death by her father, Julian Hast; her mother, Elinor Hast; her brother, John; and her husband, Robert “Bob” Sonnenburg '49. After graduating from Antioch College with a degree in chemistry, she married Bob in 1949. They moved five times before settling in Memphis in 1959. Bobbie served eight years on the Memphis School Board and 16 years on the Memphis City Council. She also served for 13 years on the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board. Bob and Bobbie retired in 1995 and moved to Ten Mile on Watts Bar Lake. Bobbie was devoted to her family, friends and civic responsibilities, and had a lifetime interest in politics. She enjoyed gardening, boating, bird-watching, stock-trading, reading and solving complex puzzles. She is survived by her brother, David Hast of Boca Raton, Fla.; and five children, Rick (Fay) of Monument, Colo., Bill (Earline) of Signal Mountain, John (Sally) of Urbandale, Iowa, Roger (Teresa) of Mishawaka, Ind., and Peggy Griffin (Mark) of Ten Mile. She had the joy of welcoming 10 grandchildren into her life, Bill, Mike, David, Christian, Dan, Andrew, Philip, and Brooklyn Sonnenburg, and Scott and Robert Griffin; as well as one great-grandchild, Tristan Sonnenburg. Bobbie has left a legacy of believing in the value of education, and she demonstrated strength of character that will carry on in future generations. Her family will be receiving friends at the Bowers Funeral Home in Decatur on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 3 to 4 p.m., with a memorial service to follow at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the First Unitarian Church of Memphis.