|Birth: ||May 25, 1928|
|Death: ||Jun. 19, 2008|
Sonye made friends from behind the bar
OBITUARY: Former horse trainer had ties with biker clientele as well as jockeys.
By James Sonye, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 06/25/2008 08:11:15 PM PDT
Eugene Sonye befriended people from all walks of life. Eugene D. Sonye never met a stranger.
Whether it was on a horse trail, at a baseball game or in one of the various Long Beach bars where he bartended, the man known to everyone as "Geno" made a point to interact with everyone, even if for the briefest of moments.
Sonye, who called Long Beach home for 35 years, passed away at approximately 2:30 a.m. June 19 after battling prostate cancer for nearly a decade.
Born May 25, 1928 in Calumet City, Ill., Sonye spent the last eight years of his life living with family in Mira Loma. In between, he traveled across the nation, meeting people from a variety of backgrounds.
From November 1950 to 1952, Sonye served in the Army, when he fought in the Korean War.
After fulfilling his military commitment, Sonye worked various jobs on ranches, where he helped train horses. In the late 1960s, Sonye began working as a bartender at Long Beach's Blue Door.
Sonye was a cowboy at heart, and the Blue Door's clientele leaned more toward the biker crowd. However, Sonye's strong-willed personality and sense of humor quickly earned him the respect of the clientele, despite the obvious clash of styles.
Sonye, who spent time boxing while in the military, quickly earned a reputation as someone who could handle himself if the going were to get tough. Later, Long Beach bars, It'll Do and The Beau Tie each hired Sonye to be their main bartender.
His years behind the bar further
illustrated Sonye's ability to get to know people from all walks of life. It was not uncommon for some of horse racing's top jockeys and trainers to visit Sonye's home on one day, followed by visits from some of the area's most notoriously tough bikers the next.
The common theme? All considered Geno their friend.
Family and friends will be gathering to remember Sonye on Saturday in Mira Loma.
Sonye is survived by his brother Roy; ex-wife Marilyn; longtime significant other Marilue; children Michael, Suzanne, Darrell (and Barbara), Carol, David (and Lisa) and Lisa (and Brian); grandchildren Michelle, James, Bill (and Hasti), Jennifer, Robin, Michael, Breanna, Nikki and Savanna; great-grandchildren Christine, Autumn, April, Ashley, David, Baylei, Stormi and Deliliah.
James Sonye is a Press-Telegram sports writer. Eugene Sonye was his grandfather.
note: This Obit was the last thing that (Melroy) wrote. James had recently changed his by-line from James Melroy to James Sonye. He died two days after writing this Obituary.
Created by: DonaldsDuck
Record added: Jun 27, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27863065