Taylor Mourns the Loss of Dr. Joe Sonnenberg, Celebrates his Life

Sonneberg_Joseph2Taylor College and Seminary mourns the death of President Emeritus Dr. Joseph Sonnenberg. Dr. Sonnenberg, who was president from 1970 to 1981, passed away in Kelowna on November 8, 2010.

Born in Poland in 1922, he was married to his wife Ella for over 61 years. Together they had a son Brian (Carlene) of Portland, OR, and a daughter Cheryl (Jim) Nichols of Edmonton, AB, and the family grew to include five grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Dr. Sonnenberg was a towering figure in Taylor's history. He led the building projects that included the Schalm Memorial Library, the Gymnasium and a dormitory, and also oversaw significant growth in the student body. High school education was phased out during this time, and Taylor Seminary got its start as a divinity school. When he stepped down as president, he said that he had accepted the job with "fear and trembling" but that he came "to pay a debt to this College for the great impact it had upon my life in its formative years."

Friends and former colleagues remember "Joe" Sonnenberg as a disciplined, hard-working honest man who valued spiritual development and intellectual growth; one remembers that he followed a pattern of reading at least one book per week. He also loved nature, and was responsible for the trees that line the Taylor campus. 

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Dr. Sonnenberg's honor to the Taylor College & Seminary Scholarship Fund or to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association. The Sonnenberg Leadership Scholarship was first set up in 1999, and since then has distributed over $10,000 to 24 deserving students. Donations to the Sonnenberg Leadership Scholarship Fund may be mailed to:

Taylor College and Seminary
11525 - 23 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
T6J 4T3

The Celebration of Life Service for Dr. Sonnenberg will take place on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm at Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Road, Kelowna B.C.