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Scuba Oceanlife 09


Douglas Gerard Sonneborn

August 30, 1942 ~ October 26, 2018 (age 76)


Douglas Gerard Sonneborn passed away peacefully on October 26, 2018.  He was born to Edward and Ann Sonneborn on August 30, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York.  When he was about two years, old his family moved to Richland, Washington, where his father had a job at Hanford.  Another move found his family living in Spokane where Doug attended kindergarten at Field Elementary School. By first grade, the family had moved to Silver Lake and Doug was attending Four Lakes School.  He graduated from Medical Lake High School in 1961.

In October of 1961, he wrote to his grandmother to tell her that he was at Lake Tahoe working at the Harrah’s Club as a “disher”, making $13.00 a shift plus food.  He enlisted in the Coast Guard, serving from 1962 to 1968.  In May of 1965 on a postcard to his Grandmother he wrote, “In 36 hours I am going out on the ice breaker Northwind”.  They were leaving Seattle, going to Panama, then to New York, from there to Denmark and then up over the top of Russia.  The cruise is documented in the book, “Across the Top of Russia, The Cruise of the USCGC Northwind into the Polar Seas North of Siberia.” Northwind sailed on an oceanographic mission to polar seas that had never before been visited by a US scientific expedition.  Doug stars on pages 304-307.  “Sonny” was helmsman on one of the two LCVPs ordered to move out from the Northwind in different directions, reading the depths of the water as they went along.  Overflights by Soviet aircraft and visits by Russian destroyers provided “entertainment”.

Doug attended Highline Community College and Eastern Washington University, graduating in business in 1971.  In 1974 he started Aluminum Products Company, Inc. (APCO) which he groomed from a residential canopy company to a commercial subcontracting business installing metal fascia, roofing and service station canopies.  In later years he referred to this company as his “baby”, his wish being that his company, and the employees that have for so long been a part of that company, will continue on even in his absence.

As a young man, Doug enjoyed water sports and snow skiing.  Later in life he enjoyed traveling in his motor home and playing a (very) little golf.  While Doug had no lasting interest in any hobby, he was passionate about Gonzaga basketball.

Doug would tell you that he was a simple man with simple needs.  His parents named him after General Douglas MacArthur.  He was a descendant of Peter Brown, one of the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620.  He could be described as a character, one of a kind, always joking and teasing.  But Doug was kind, generous, strong, independent and determined.  He delighted in picking up restaurant tabs for unsuspecting friends and especially for members of the military.  Doug was a loving and devoted husband and father.

Doug is survived by his wife of 40 years, Karen, and his children: daughter Dena (Scott) Bulmer, son Tim (Sandra) Stewart and daughter Debra (Art) Lawler.  Grandchildren in birth order, Jessica, Joshua, Luke, Annemarie and Jake. His family loves him dearly and misses him.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00AM on Friday, November 16, 2018, at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist located at 127 East 12th Avenue, Spokane, Washington.  A reception follows the service at Hennessey Funeral Home, 2203 North Division St.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following:  the Hutton Settlement, the COPD Foundation, or the charity of your choice supporting the military, veterans, and their families.

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