Funeral Announcement and Obituary for Lee J. Sonko, my Father

Lee J. Sonko passed away April 29th. Visitation will be held Saturday May 4th, 2024 at 4-6pm with services at 6pm at Aycock-Riverside Funeral Center, Jupiter, FL. There will be an additional visitation at the Cochran Funeral Home, 905 High Street, Hackettstown, NJ on Friday May 10th, 2024 from 4-8 pm with services being held on Saturday, May 11th at the funeral home at 11am with Father Timothy Dowling officiating. Burial will follow services at the Union Cemetery, Hackettstown, NJ.

He lived long enough and happily enough to write his own obituary. When he was 41 he had his first open heart surgery. Every day since then has been on what he knew to be borrowed time. He borrowed 47 more very happy years and used them as well as any person I’ve ever known.

My Father’s Obituary

Lee J Sonko born Oct 25, 1936.

Born in New Brunswick NJ, Lee grew up in Elmira NY. He graduated with a B.S. Degree in 1959 from Fairleigh-Dickinson University and an M.B.A. in 1961. He is also a graduate of the Executive Program at the Wharton School. He was one of the first to receive a C.F.P. designation in the 1970’s and he taught the course.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Marlene Sonko (nee Ferranti), daughter Melissa, son Lee, Lee’s wife Megan, and his granddaughters Julia Sonko and Abigail Flom-Sonko. He was brother of Rita Temes and Marcia Sonko, and brother-in-law to Dorothy Howard and Ernestine McCarren.

Lee and family lived in West Milford NJ and he was President of the Library Board, an Environmental Commissioner, active with the Jaycee’s, Knights of Columbus, a fundraiser for local and state politicians, and coached a little league baseball team to two championships. Lee then moved to Smoke Rise in Kinnelon NJ where he was active with the Smoke Rise Tennis Club and building their Club House. He also enjoyed the family’s ski house at Stratton Vermont.

Anticipating retirement he then moved to Panther Valley in Allamuchy NJ and Jonathan’s Landing in Jupiter Florida. He was a member of the Panther Valley Golf and Country Club as well as a member of Jonathans Landing Country Club. He was founder of “The 12 Santas”, a charitable organization active in Hackettstown NJ.

In an earlier career, he was the manager of the paper dress project for a major paper company. Lee ultimately retired from Morgan Stanley as a Senior Vice-President in 2003.

His hobbies included golf, his beloved 1951 Packard, sailing, wine making, social evenings, and especially his family. He enjoyed what life had to offer, often traveling around Europe and the west to vacation and ski in his younger days and golf trips more recently. He is currently vice-president of the pacheata society.

Lee died peacefully on April 29th, 2024 of heart failure with family at his side.

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