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Dr William Sonnier, Jr
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Birth: Sep. 23, 1923
Death: Aug. 21, 2009

Obit in Lake Charles American Press 8-23-2009
William Sonnier, Jr., M.D.

Dr. William Sonnier, Jr. died August 21, 2009, at Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2009, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette.

Interment will follow in the family tomb of Mrs. Sonnier in St. John Cemetery.

The Mass will be Celebrated by Reverend Edward Degeyter and the Concelebrant will be The Reverend Monsignor Keith J. DeRouen, Rector of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette. Lectors will be Eileen Sonnier, Noreen Martin and Nanette Fisher. Giftbearers will be Barbara Rives, Mason Fisher, Evan Fisher and Reed Fisher. Raymond Hebert, soloist, accompanied by Tom Niel, organist, and Wil Green, trumpeter, will sing "Ave Maria", "The Old Rugged Cross", "Amazing Grace" and "Be Not Afraid" for the services.

Dr. Sonnier was born in the Ebenezer community, south of Rayne, Louisiana, on September 23, 1923. He was the son of William Sonnier, Sr. and Agnes Nola Dupont, descendants of pioneer Acadian families. The family moved to Rayne in 1924. Dr. Sonnier attended public schools in Rayne and graduated from Rayne High School in 1939. He entered Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the fall of 1939, graduating with a B.S. degree. He then attended LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, graduating with an M.D. degree in 1945. During part of his time in medical school, he served in the ASTP unit of the United States Army.

Dr. Sonnier interned at Maumee Valley Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. He returned to Louisiana and did general practice in Scott and Rayne until he volunteered for the army during the Korean War. He served in the war during some of the fiercest battles as Regimental Surgeon and Commander of the Medical Company, 7th Calvary (infantry). He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge and the Bronze Star.

Upon discharge from the army, Dr. Sonnier began specialized training in ophthalmology at Tulane Medical School and the Victor Smith Memorial Eye Clinic in New Orleans. He then served a year as a medical missionary at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

In the fall of 1956, Dr. Sonnier returned from India and set up his ophthalmology practice in Lafayette. He was the first board certified ophthalmologist in this area and was a pioneer in the use of ophthalmic lasers and retinal angiography. He was a diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Sonnier was a member of the Lafayette Parish Medical Society, the Louisiana State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.

His lifetime hobby was hunting and he traveled many parts of the world to pursue this interest.

Dr. Sonnier is survived by his wife, Bettie Skains Sonnier; three daughters, Eileen Sonnier and her husband Denis DeShon, Noreen Sonnier Martin and her husband Winn Martin and Nanette Sonnier Fisher and her husband Dr. David Fisher, Jr. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Jennifer Martin Beech and her husband Chris, Andrew Martin and his wife, Alexa, Wynetta Martin Harris and her husband Jack, and his triplet grandsons, Mason, Evan and Reed Fisher. He is also survived by five great grandchildren, Shelby Joy Williams, Cheyanne Rose Beech, Emily Elizabeth Harris, Margaret Grace Harris and Alexandra Amena Martin. He is also survived by one sister, Rita Sonnier Rives; a niece, Barbara Ann Rives; and a nephew, John Snowden Rives, II and his wife Ann. He is also survived by other nieces, Renee Swain and her husband Ed, Alicia Huesers and her husband Ben and Bernadette Cormier; and a nephew, Sam Sonnier.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Sonnier, Sr. and Agnes Dupont Sonnier; one brother, Homer Joseph Sonnier; and one nephew, William Rives.

Pallbearers will be David Fisher, Jr., Winn Martin, Andrew Martin, Ed Swain, John Rives and Jack Skains.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Dr. Mark Skains, Dr. Harold Jacobs, Dr. Bill Vildibill, Dr. Mike Mounir, Dr. Rick Bourgeois, Dr. Rick Leoni, Dr. Ed Nagem, Dr. Luis DeAraujo, Dr. Robert Morrow, Jr., Dr, Philip Dupont, Denis DeShon, Timothy Chaisson, Sam Sonnier and Percy Bernard.

Dr. Sonnier never refused to see any person who came to his office. He lived a happy, full life and asks that you remember him in your prayers. He requests that any remembrances be sent to the charity of your choice.

A Rosary will be recited on Sunday, August 23, 2009, at 4:30 PM in Martin & Castille Funeral Home.

The family requests that visitation be observed on Sunday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM and on Monday from 10:00 AM until the time of service.

View the obituary and guestbook online at

Family links: 
  Bettie Skains Sonnier (1938 - ____)*
*Calculated relationship
Saint John Cemetery
Lafayette Parish
Louisiana, USA
Created by: Gloria Bello
Record added: Aug 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41037937
Dr William Sonnier, Jr
Added by: Gloria Bello
Dr William Sonnier, Jr
Added by: Debbie G Morrogh
Dr William Sonnier, Jr
Added by: Debbie G Morrogh
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- Gloria Bello
 Added: Aug. 23, 2009

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