Ocean Beach 07

Sonja Ann (Thierry) Holbert

July 12, 1939 ~ December 22, 2021 (age 82)

Obituary Image

Obituary

Her Life’s Reflection

Sonja Ann Thierry Holbert was born to Ella Mae Miles Thierry of Helena, Arkansas, and Clyde Vincent Thierry of Chataigner, Louisiana on July 12th,1939 in Kansas City, Kansas. She was the third daughter of 7 girls and one boy of this union.  After Ella Mae’s death, Clyde had another daughter, Sonja’s youngest sister. Sonja attended Dunbar Elementary School, Northeast Junior High, Sumner High School and Kansas City, Kansas Junior College.  While at Sumner High School, under the direction of Robert N. Clark, Sonja played violin, viola, cello and flute.  She also played flute in the marching band.  As an adult, she took piano and voice lessons.  The Thierry children were reared with middle-class ideals, values, and traditions.  There was always music, poetry, and literature in the household.  Two of her favorite books were “101 Famous Poems” by Roy J. Cook and a novel entitled “St. Elmo” by Augusta Evans Wilson.  Although discretionary funds were at a minimum, the family never felt deprived.  Sonja was very independent at a young age.  As a teenager, she would catch the bus and ride far to her babysitting job.  Her employer was Mrs. Sessel, whom Sonja kept in contact with after many years.  Sonja was a hard worker, in whatever she undertook.  Everything had to be perfect.

In 1959, Sonja enrolled in the University of Kansas (KU).  That Fall, as Sonja began her studies at KU, her mother died.  Knowing that is what her mother would want, she continued her studies until she finished her program.  Also, during her college years, she joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated Psi Chapter.  She graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1961 and later obtained a Master of Science in Special Education.  Sonja became a teacher like her mother Ella Mae Thierry.  She was a dedicated teacher of kindergarten and first grade at Kealing School in Kansas City, Kansas.  Her principal was Mrs. Crump.  Then, in later years, she taught Special Education classes at other schools.  She loved her students and demanded the best from all of them. During her early teaching years, she lived with Bill and Marie Lambright.  Marie was Ella Mae’s best friend and treasured aunt to all of Ella and Clyde’s children.  While living with the Lambright’s, Sonja enjoyed the finer things in life as a young professional educator. Sonja taught in the Kansas City Kansas Public School System for almost 30 years until her retirement in 1996.

In 1965, Sonja Ann Thierry married Dr. Lelond Lemonn Holbert. From this union, two wonderful, loving daughters were born, Courtney Miles and Collin Michael. Sonja became a widow in 1977.  After the death of her husband Lelond, she continued to raise her daughters with love and affection while instilling the Christian faith which was a value in the Thierry family.  Over the years, Sonja and Lelond’s home was the center of many happy gatherings such as weddings and reunions.  Throughout the years, Sonja developed her creative skills as a seamstress and cake decorator.  She shared her talents with her family, her church community, her school, and her friends.  In addition to her pastimes, she loved to read, to watch thrillers, to travel, to host family in her home, and to sew (i.e.: costumes, wedding, and attendant dresses). She loved to plan big!  It was often that she would host pool parties in the summertime in her backyard.  Her backyard was central for several Thierry Family Reunions.  It was the family’s special place where we would frolic during our gatherings, sometimes hosting over a hundred people.  Sonja is mostly known for making extravagant cakes, cookies, and candies.  Many family celebrations were blessed with a “Sonja Special”.  She made ornate cakes for birthdays, weddings, and showers. She decorated all the cakes and confections creatively.  Everyone was in awe of her artistry.  Sonja’s love of music was limitless.  She sang opera, she played the violin, cello, flute, and piano. She loved to listen to classical music.  She shared her love of music with her children and grandchildren.

The Thierry family faithfully attended Strangers Rest Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, under the leadership of Reverend C.A. Pugh.  Sonja was a member of Strangers Rest Baptist Church for over 70 years.  During these years, she attended with her daughters Courtney and Collin.  Through her years as a member, Sonja was involved in several Ministries: Choir, Children’s Choir Director, Food Ministry, periodically serving as a Sunday school teacher, as well as serving other areas as needed.  Prior to her passing and the Covid-19 pandemic, she was in regular attendance.

As she was transitioning, Sonja's first grandson Creston, flew to KCK from Houston, Texas to be by his grandmother’s bedside. He brought his violin and played for her throughout the morning to comfort her, playing some of her favorite songs.  Later that afternoon of his arrival, she passed. Sonja was a wonderful mother, devoted grandmother and great-grandmother, cherished sister, and beloved aunt.  She was strong in her faith as she faced her trials bravely and privately.  She loved her family deeply.  Sonja has had a wonderful journey through her life and has left footprints of kindness, love, courage, compassion, humor, and inspiration, leaving us many virtues of how we shall remember her.

She leaves to mourn her passing: daughters Courtney Miles Holbert Wells, Collin Michael Holbert Thomas (Kevin); grandchildren Creston Miles Herron (Dawn), James Randolph Oakes (Hero), Frederick Arvesta Owens (Ada), William Lemonn Wells, Lauren Miles Thomas, Brooke Nicole Thomas, Grant Henry Thomas; great-grandchildren, Eloise Marie Miles Herron, Creston Lelond Herron, Zavin Miles Oakes, Zara Salih Oakes; siblings, Daphne Thierry Payne (d. William), Sylvia Thierry Sykes (deceased) (d. Abel), Sharon Thierry Buckner (d. Reginald), Rosemarie Thierry Sims (deceased) (Nathaniel), Melanie Thierry Prince (d. Dwight), Stephanie Thierry McIntosh (Larry, Sr.); Sondra Thierry Solish (John), and brother John Claudius Thierry and a host of relatives and friends.

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Services

Visitation
Friday
January 7, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Stranger's Rest Baptist Church
2052 North 5 Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

Celebration of Life
Friday
January 7, 2022

11:00 AM
Stranger's Rest Baptist Church
2052 North 5 Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

Interment Following Funeral Service
Friday
January 7, 2022

Highland Park Cemetery
3801 STATE AVE
KANSAS CITY, KS 66102-3799

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