Al was born in Wilmington, DE on May 25, 1945. His parents were Alfred R. Sonchen, Jr. and Anne B. Sonchen of Newport, DE. Al attended Krebs Elementary School and Conrad High School. He graduated from the University of Delaware before joining the United States Navy in 1968. After basic training and corps school at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he spent two years at the San Diego Naval Hospital as a corpsman and pharmacy technician. He was also stationed at Naval Air Station in Agana, Guam, U.S.A. during the Vietnam War and performed many duties as both a pharmacy technician and corpsman. Flying with search and rescue teams with the Navy, he traveled to many small Pacific Islands from 1971 to 1973. Senior Chief Sonchen remained in the reserves, drilling in Wilmington, DE, Folsom, PA, and at the Philadelphia Naval Station until being reactivated with Fleet Hospital 20/15. Al served in "Desert Shield" and "Desert Storm" as Morale, Welfare and Recreation coordinator in Al-Jubayl, Saudi Arabia. On August 21, 1993 after 25 years and 5 months of Naval Services, Al retired from the United States Navy in Philadelphia.
Al was active in his community and church, serving as Chapel Hill Civic Association President and singing in St. Mark’s Methodist Church Chancel Choir. He worked for many years in the "Green Industry," most recently for Murray Sod in Selbyville, DE as a salesman/consultant. Al was an avid golfer, gardener and Phillies fan. Most of all, he loved spending time with family and friends at the beach.
Mr. Sonchen was predeceased by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Robert Sonchen, Jr. and his sister, Shirley Benson. He is survived by his wife, Doreen Woodward Sonchen, with whom he spent forty-three years of marriage; his son, Robert W. Sonchen and his wife, Christina, and grandchildren, Anna, William and Katie, of Hockessin; and his daughter, Elizabeth A. Webb, and grandchildren Sarah and Caroline of Pike Creek. Also surviving are his sister, Marlene McCauley, brother-in-law, Louis Benson, and many nieces and nephews.
Al will be remembered for his spontaneous wit that kept many occasions with his family and friends filled with laughter and gaiety. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral Services will be celebrated on Thursday, August 4, at 11 am, at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 1700 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE where family and friends may visit from 10-11 am. Interment will follow in the All Saints Cemetery, Kirkwood Hwy.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Al’s memory to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church Music Fund or Camp Pecometh, 136 Bookers Wharf Road, Centreville, MD 21617.