Sister Joyce Sonnenberg, wife of General Authority Seventy Elder John Sonnenberg, dies at age 96

Sister Joyce Dalton Sonnenberg, wife of the late Elder John Sonnenberg, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 1984 to 1989, died April 28, 2021, at her home in Sandy, Utah. She was 96.

In addition to serving in many ward and stakes callings in Primary, Young Women and Relief Society, Sister Sonnenberg served with her husband as he was called to be a General Authority and as the matron of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple from 1990 to 1992. Elder Sonnenberg passed away in 2015.

Joyce Clair Dalton was born and raised on the west side of the Oquirrh Mountains in Tooele, Utah. She attended seminary, taught Junior Sunday School and worked at the local soda fountain before graduating from Tooele High School in 1943. She trained as a typist before serving in the East Central States Mission in 1946. It was there that she met a young dental student who was attending the University of Louisville, John Sonnenberg. 

Following her mission and his graduation from dental school, the two were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Nov. 26, 1947. The two raised their family of seven children in Elmhurst, Illinois, about 20 miles west of Chicago, where Elder Sonnenberg served in two stake presidencies with a young Dallin H. Oaks.

Elder Sonnenberg, whose Church assignments took him to Europe and the islands of the Pacific, said in a Church News interview that “his lovely wife” and family were his greatest source of joy and support in his life. “We all have a delightful time together. Our secret is doing things together.”

As a family they loved to go boating, skiing, swimming and fishing. Sister Sonnenberg’s obituary said she lived life “with grace, love, humility and a focus on service.”

She is survived by her seven children: John David (Terry), James (Young Ja), Brent (Janette), Joan Wardell (Les), Dean (Deanna), Scott (Jill), Clair Dickson (Terry); sister, Donna Dalton Porter Johnson; 33 grandchildren; 91 great-grandchildren; and a great-great grandchild on the way. She is preceded in death by her husband, John; parents, Cloyd and Mabel; and great-granddaughter Brittney.

Funeral services will be at the Salt Lake Ensign Stake Center, 135 A St., Salt Lake City, on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at 10 a.m. at the stake center prior to the funeral. Burial will be in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.