Charles F. Sonneborn, Jr.

February 24, 1936 ~ March 29, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Charles Sonneborn, Jr. Obituary

If you knew Chuck, you’re aware that he could tell a story, recall events in history, as well as someone’s name, with amazing accuracy.  In his honor, we will try to do the same in telling his story.  Chuck was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 24, 1936, to Catherine Eileen (Thiele) and Charles Francis Sonneborn.  He and his family moved to South Bend in 1941 where his father, his uncle Fritz Sonneborn and their father, Roy Sonneborn, moved a Sporting goods business originally established in LaPorte, IN to downtown South Bend which was locally known as Sonneborn’s Sport Shop. Chuck grew up in this business, and from the age of 12, he performed odd jobs and formed a strong work ethic, as well as a lifelong love of sports.

Chuck was a member of the 1954 class at John Adams High school, where he was a member of the football and track teams. After graduation, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Business degree in 1958. At Michigan, he met and married Shirley Ann Shelton, settled in South Bend, and together they raised three children. Shortly after graduating, he enrolled in the US Army Reserves. He was honorably discharged in October of 1964 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. 

Chuck’s main career was working at and then owning Sonneborn’s Sport Shop in downtown South Bend. He met and helped many people during his career in sporting goods.  He was active within the community and was a member of the South Bend Chamber of Commerce. In later life, he met and married Ellen (Francis).  Together they traveled and enjoyed retirement. His favorite past times were downhill skiing and golf. He skied until the age of 69 and passionately cheered on Michigan football.

Chuck is survived by his children Charles (Charlie) Sonneborn (Dan Kirk) of Greeley, CO, Amy Sonneborn-Turnock (Joseph Turnock, Jr.) of Granger, Kristin Rose (Patrick Rose) of Cincinnati, OH, and his stepson Dean Francis (Mindy) of Granger; his grandchildren, Joseph Turnock, III (Erin Kearney), Joshua Turnock (Josie), Jack Rose, Nina Rose and Maura Francis as well as a great grandchild, Cavan Turnock. 

A celebration of his life will be held from 4 to 7pm on Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Palmer Funeral Home, Welsheimer North Chapel 17033 Cleveland Rd, South Bend, IN 46635.  In honor of Chuck’s passion for sports, guests are encouraged to wear their favorite team/college sports gear.  Hail to the Victors – Go Blue!

Donations may be made to Food Bank of Northern Indiana, 702 Chapin Street, South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 232-9886.

Condolences for the family may be made at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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April 11, 2024

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Palmer Funeral Home - Welsheimer North
17033 Cleveland Road
South Bend, IN 46635


Northern Indiana Food Bank
702 Chapin Street, South Bend IN 46601
Tel: 1-574-232-9986


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