- Raymond H. Sonnenberg, 72 of Belleville, ILL, born Nov. 30, 1930, in Collinsville, IL, died Wednesday, March 5, 2003, at memorial Hospital, Belleville, IL.
Ray was a 1952 graduate of St. Louis University. At St. Louis University, he played football and basketball on the varsity teams.
Ray was named to the NCAA Missouri Valley All America Team and played in the World Series of basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters. He was named to the Illinois and St. Louis University sports halls of fame.
After graduation, Ray entered the U.S. Air force. While in the Air Force, Ray was a member of the basketball team that won the World-Wide Air Force Championship and World-Wide Inter-Service Championship.
Ray officiated for many years in all levels of sports. he was a member of the Illinois High School Officials Association and was a basketball official in the Missouri Valley Conference. In 1968 and 1970, he officiated the College Division of the NCAA Basketball Finals. Also in 1968, Ray officiated the Olynpic Basketball Trial Games. From 1967 until 1978, Ray served as a head linesman in the National Football League.
Ray was the executive director of the East St. Louis YMCA and its successors, the Bi-County YMCA and YMCA of Southwest Illinois. The former Bi-County Center of the YMCA of Southwest Illinois was re-named the Sonnenberg Center in his honor. Ray also served as a council member in the National Council fo the YMCA of the USA and was a member of the board of directors for the Region 1 YMCAs in America. Ray and his wife, Celeste, who preceded him in death, were members of the Lamplighters Society of the YMCA of South-west Illinois.
Ray was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and served as the metro-east president from 1970 to 1972 and the Branch Rickey Chapter president from 1986 to 1988. He was a Sunday school teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church from 1955 to 1965.
Ray served as a Belleville city Alderman from Ward 4 for approximately 20 years. he served as a member of the school board for Notre Dame Acadamey of Belleville from 1970 to 1972 and St. Henry's Seminary, also from 1970 to 1972.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Celeste Sonnenberg, his parents, Samuel and Elanor, nee Reimler, Sonnenberg, and a sister, Bessie Harris.
Surviving are his seven children and their spouses, Ray and Theresa Sonnenberg Jr. of Belleville, ILL., Celeste and Phil Furmanek of Belleville, ILL., Sue and Bob Mayberry of Millstadt, ILL., Jeanne and Mike Sanders of Belleville, ILL., Kate and Bill Gavin of Swansea, Ill., Kirk and Kelly Sonnenberg of Millstadt, Ill., and Greg and Vicky Sonnenberg of St. Louis, MO.: two brothers, Al (Nancy) Sonnenberg of Montrose, Iowa, and Walter Sonnenberg of Collinsville, Ill.: two sisters, Shirley Gili of Collinsville, Ill., and Linda Wiseman of Salen, Ill.; 15 grandchildren, Austin, Niclole, Erin, Erik, Raechel, Megan, Justin, Jeremy, Anne, Catherine, Chris, Casey, Carson, Charlie, and Mary; and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorial gifts may be directed in Ray's memory to the YMCA of Southwest Illinois Downtown Belleville Center Capital Construction Fund, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes or St. Henry's Catholic Church.
Funeral procession will leave at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, March 8, 2003, from Kurrus Funeral Home, Belleville, Ill., for a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian burial at St. Henry's Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill., with Monsignor Bernard Voss and the Rev. Bill Rowe officiating. Internment will be in Lake View memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, Ill.