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Harry H. Sonnemaker

December 6, 1926 March 21, 2015
Harry H. Sonnemaker
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Obituary for Harry H. Sonnemaker

DUNLAP – Harry H. “Hank” Sonnemaker, Jr., of Dunlap passed away at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2015, at his residence. Harry was born on Dec. 6, 1926, in Peoria to the late Harry Sr. and Grace (Reiferscheid) Sonnemaker. He married Dorothy Boyer on June 12, 1948, in Peoria. She survives. He is also survived by two daughters, Lise’ (Robert) Mundwiller and Melissa (Steve) Majdic both of Dunlap; one brother, William (Nancy) Sonnemaker of Bass Lake, Ind.; three granddaughters, Emily Mundwiller of Chicago, Abigail Mundwiller of Peoria, and Andie Majdic of Dunlap; one grandson, David Sonnemaker of Atlanta; three nephews, William (Susan) Sonnemaker of Aurora, Colo., Ken (Tawnya) Sonnemaker of Indianapolis, and James (Melissa) Sonnemaker of Bass Lake, Ind.; one niece, Julie (Rick) Ritzler of Bass Lake, Ind.; and three cousins, Sr. Mary Shryock of St. Louis, Joseph Shyrock of Chillicothe, and Teresa Connolly of Cherry, Ill. He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Michael. Harry attended Spalding Institute. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he obtained his undergraduate education from St. Ambrose and Bradley Universities and later graduated from the University of Illinois with his law degree. He first entered the Navy in November 1944 and served on active duty until 1946, principally in Hawaii, the Marianas and Guam. He was commissioned Ensign in 1950 and served in various line and security-intelligence billets until 1955. When the JAG Corps was established, he became a JAGC Officer, serving for over 30 years including a two-year term as the Judge Advocate General for the Navy. When he retired, he was the senior most captain in the Navy Reserve in the United States. Harry was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1955. He served as the first legal aid counselor for Peoria in 1957. He was in private practice for 50 years. From 1974 to 1986, he shared his office with his son. Other attorneys that either he either shared an office with or worked for him were Judge Robert Manning, Lou Benassi, Judge Mike O’Brien, Jerry Serritella, and Judge Joe Vespa. He served as the attorney for the Peoria Police Benevolent Association for four years and was the past president and director of the Illinois Board of Sherriffs Merit Commission. He also served continuously on the Peoria County Sherriff’s Merit Commission for over 30 years. He was a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trail Lawyer Association, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Throughout his long career, he was known for his generosity and willingness to help not only the underserved but also as a mentor for many young attorneys. Harry was owner of the A&W Root Beer stands in Peoria for over 20 years. He had a life-long passion for football, hunting, dogs, and Civil War history. A memorial service will be at noon Saturday, April 4, 2015, at Wright & Salmon Mortuary. Fr. Patrick Henehan will officiate. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. Cremation rites have been accorded. Entombment of ashes will be in Resurrection Mausoleum. Memorials may be made to the Peoria Humane Society. Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences by logging onto


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