Albert William Sonntag
Albert William “Bill” Sonntag died unexpectedly on March 24, 2023 after a brief hospitalization following a fall at home. Family and friends are shocked and saddened by his death, which came too soon. He was 53.
Born on May 25, 1969 in Saigon, Vietnam to Albert E. and Vilawan (Lauprasert) Sonntag, Bill lived his first year in Vietnam. His parents returned to Thailand with him the following year, where his older brothers Sudkiat “Boom” and Navi were living with their mother’s family. Bill’s younger brother, Carl Joseph “Joe” was born shortly afterwards.
When Bill was five, the family moved to Tehran, Iran when his father accepted a job with Bell Helicopter. They were forced to evacuate Iran when the Shah was overthrown in 1979 and ended up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where his father spent the remainder of his career with Saudi ARAMCO.
Dhahran became the “home town” Bill identified with more than any other. Growing up, he pursued many interests including Boy Scouts, soccer and BMX racing. In Dhahran, Bill made lifelong friends. It is also in Dhahran where he met his wife of 31 years, Deborah “Debbie” Taylor while home for Christmas in 1988.
After graduating from Dhahran Junior High School in 1985, Bill attended The Phelps School in Malvern, PA where he was a member of the lacrosse and wrestling teams and graduated in 1988. Following high school, he moved to Orlando, Florida to attend Valencia College. He and Debbie were married in Central Florida in June of 1991, and together they raised their three children, Emily, Evelyn and Edward.
Bill was a server and chef in his family’s restaurant, Siam Star, as well as other local establishments including Fat Tuesdays, the Renaissance Hotel and Arabian Nights before deciding to stay home to become the primary caregiver of their children when Evelyn was born in 1996. After the kids were all in school and more independent, Bill returned to work as a technician for a drilling supply company until he and Debbie relocated to Fort Myers, Florida and he joined her to work in the payroll company she founded in 2009.
Several months after Bill’s mom died in 2019, his father Albert “Al” moved to Fort Myers where he lived with Bill and Debbie until his death in November 2022. While it was sometimes difficult to witness his father’s physical decline, Pop thoroughly enjoyed spoiling all of the four-legged members of the family and Bill was thankful for the chance to spend those years with Pop and deepen their father/son relationship.
All who know Bill, know that he lived a life of action and adventure. Never one to sit still, his many passions included model airplanes (which always seemed to crash on their maiden flight), freshwater and saltwater aquariums, motorcycles, skydiving, camping with friends & family, surfing, bodybuilding, R/C cars, racquetball, offshore fishing, SCUBA diving, spearfishing and one of his latest prized possessions - 2022 C8 Corvette Stingray in Rapid Blue.
Whatever Bill was doing, he was a friend to everyone he encountered along the way. His generous spirit and love for life drew others to him. He had hundreds of friends, genuinely loved every single one of them, and made the time to keep in touch with so many.
In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his brother, Joe. He is survived by his wife and best friend Debbie, their three children Emily (Sonntag) Cornell, Evelyn (Sonntag) Cowx, and Edward Sonntag, four grandchildren, Chloe McDaniel-Cowx, Benjamin, Isla and Nicholas Cowx and brothers Sudkiat “Boom” Sonntag and Navi Sonntag. There are also innumerable friends and extended family members who will miss him forever.
We are gathering to celebrate his life and recount “Wild Willy” stories at 2pm on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Hodges Life Celebration Center, 26051 S Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs FL 34134.