Cover photo for Dorothy Elizabeth Sonksen's Obituary
Dorothy Elizabeth Sonksen Profile Photo

Dorothy Elizabeth Sonksen

d. December 9, 2010

Dorothy Elizabeth Sonksen, the daughter of Charles Arthur and Edith Helen (Doubet) McNaughton, was born in Hanna City, Illinois, on January 6, 1920. As a young girl, she moved to Templeton, Iowa. She attended country school and graduated from Coon Rapids (Iowa) High School in 1939. Dorothy studied at Buena Vista College and Simpson College before teaching elementary school in Audubon, Manilla, and Irwin, Iowa.

On August 26, 1945, Dorothy married Dethlef Arnold Sonksen at Trinity Lutheran Church near Audubon, Iowa. In addition to teaching, Dorothy helped Dethlef on their farm located near Gray, Iowa. In 1970 the couple retired and moved first to Arizona, and later to Colorado, where they were house parents at the Colorado Junior Republic School for Boys. They returned to Iowa in 1978 and spent most of their time near Audubon until Dethlef’s death on August 24, 1993. Dorothy then moved to Harlan, Iowa, where she lived until 2000. She then became a nursing home resident and spent the last eight years living at the Oakland Manor, Oakland, Iowa.

Dorothy was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Audubon for many years. She was an active member, teaching Sunday School and participating in the ladies’ group activities. Dorothy later attended Peace Lutheran Church in Harlan. She was a great mother and grandmother with a quick wit and good sense of humor. She loved teaching. In her later years, Dorothy enjoyed doing crossword puzzles.

Dorothy E. Sonksen died on Thursday, December 9, 2010, at the Oakland Manor in Oakland, Iowa, having reached the age of 90 years, 11 months, and 3 days.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Dethlef Arnold Sonksen; one sister, Harriett Miller; one son-in-law, Jack Juelsgaard; and two grandchildren, Andrea Sonksen and Nathan Juelsgaard. Survivors include two daughters, Edith (Dennis) Mesenbrink of Edmond, Oklahoma, and Rebecca (Kevin) Hansen of Treynor, Iowa; one son, Charles Sonksen of Ida Grove, Iowa; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held on Monday, December 13, 2010, at Peace Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Merlene Ostebee officiating. Casket bearers were Adam Mesenbrink, Karen Mesenbrink, Rachel Caywood, Josh Caywood, Maria Cass, Jeremy Cass, Melanie Sonksen, Chris Juelsgaard, Amber Juelsgaard, Amy Juelsgaard, Melissa Hansen, and Elizabeth Hansen. Burial was in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon, Iowa. Memorials may be made to the Peace Lutheran Church Education and Youth Ministry. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at
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