Cover photo for Robert "Bob" Henry Sonheim's Obituary
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1932 Robert "Bob" 2023

Robert "Bob" Henry Sonheim

March 1, 1932 — November 23, 2023

Robert “Bob” Henry Sonheim passed away on November 23, 2023, in Clarkdale, AZ, at the age of 91. Born March 1, 1932, in Chicago, IL, Robert was the second of three sons to Henry and Minnie (Hollinger) Sonheim. When Minnie died in 1940, the father and three sons—Richard, Robert, and Raymond—moved to New Jersey, where later Henry married Frances (Weed), and together they had Ruth and Ronald. The five Sonheim siblings remained close their entire lives, with family reunions from Albuquerque to Alaska. Robert graduated from Bogota High School, NJ, in 1950. He served two years in the USAF, stationed for a time in Korea. On December 12, 1954, he married the love of his life, Barbara Louise Wagner in Maywood, NJ, and they launched a lifelong adventure out West, moving to Colorado, where they raised their four children, Jeffrey, Douglas, Nancy, and Stephen. Robert graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in December, 1959, and passed the Colorado Bar in March, 1960. Shortly afterwards he started his law practice in Arvada, CO, where he also served as City Attorney. His wide-ranging legal career included several intriguing murder cases and a landmark water rights case argued before the Colorado Supreme Court. In 1967 the Colorado Bar Association named him the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year. Robert was active in community projects and served on numerous boards, including the North Jeffco Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, Denver Lutheran High School, Arvada Chamber of Commerce, Peace Lutheran Church, and the American Red Cross. He served as President of the First Judicial District and as First Vice President of the Colorado Bar Association. Robert had many hobbies. He raced homing pigeons, raised beef cattle, and rode horses. He gardened, with a fondness for rhubarb, gooseberries, and swiss chard. He liked to cut hay, build barns, and dig French drains. He liked to drive big tractors, and he owned several. He could fix things. He kept ducks, chickens, bees, and, for a while, a rabbit. Every fall, he hunted elk. On every high-country backpacking trip, he packed his fishing gear. He loved dogs; during the Arvada years, he was never without a faithful Collie following him around the yard. He planted hundreds of trees. He enjoyed water and snow skiing. He ran dozens of marathons, from New York to Honolulu, often neck-and-neck with his brother, Ray. During his retirement, Robert hardly retired. He and Barbara bought a 1,000-acre ranch near Yampa, CO, where he worked the ranch and she hosted friends and family. During these years, Bob served as Municipal Judge for the town of Oak Creek, CO. He and Barbara made many dear friends in the community and at church. They particularly enjoyed the Independence Day parade and picnic in Yampa. Robert and Barbara spent their last years in Clarkdale, AZ, enjoying friends and visits from family. Robert was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Richard, Raymond, and Ronald; sister-in-law Joan (Kohler) Sonheim; and his loving wife of sixty-seven years, Barbara. He is survived by children Jeffrey Sonheim of Durango, CO; Douglas Sonheim (Amy) of Grand Rapids, MI; Nancy Gowen (Mitch) of Aiea, HI; and Stephen Sonheim (Carla) of Seattle, WA. Grandchildren include Christer Sonheim (Christi) of Seattle, WA; Joseph Sonheim (Elizabeth) of Grand Rapids, MI; Molly Poppe (Nathanael) of Concordia, MO; Will Sonheim (Abby) of Chicago, IL; Micah Gowen of Washington D.C; Wesley Sonheim of Seattle, WA; and Katie Harrell (Brenden) of Springfield, IL. Great-grandchildren include Liam, Ethan, Ellie, Zadok, Titus, Esther, Oliver, Eden, Basil, Arie, and Jael. He is also survived by his sister Ruth and brother-in law Harry Vollmer of Bosque Farms, NM; by sisters-in-law Eileen Sonheim of Calabasas, CA, and Vicki Sonheim of Yukon, OK; and by nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. A celebration of the lives Robert Henry and Barbara Louise Sonheim will be held in Colorado in February, 2024. Memorials may be made to a charity of choice.
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