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Melvin Earl “Sonny” Bourne Jr

Centralia, Kansas

05/28/1939 - 06/07/2024

Melvin Earl “Sonny” Bourne Jr., 85, passed away peacefully on, June 7, 2024 at Eastridge nursing home in Centralia.

Sonny was born on May 28, 1939, in Hardy, Nebraska to Melvin and Verna (Engel) Bourne.  He graduated from Vermillion High School and Washburn University.

He later received his Masters Degree from Murray State University. He married Judith VanGilder on a sweltering hot day, July 2, 1960, in the Vermillion Methodist Church. They were married for 62 years until her passing in 2022.

Sonny was passionate about being a science teacher and coach, thus he impacted an untold number of students and athletes in his fifty-one years in education.  Sonny was instrumental in starting women’s sports at Centralia High School, and served as the first women’s basketball, volleyball, and track coach.  He started his teaching and coaching career at Whiting High School where he taught for eight years.  He then served Centralia High School for twenty-seven years which he retired from.  He came out of retirement to teach and coach at Onaga High School for sixteen years.  During this time, he also taught College Biology for Highland Community College for many of these years.  In 1996, Sonny was inducted into the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  He loved athletics and when he wasn’t coaching, he loved to watch baseball, basketball, and football games.  In his final years he rejoiced in the success of the Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Kansas City Royals championship seasons.  He also enjoyed fishing with his wife Judy and taking her on casino runs.  Sonny and Judy worked together to raise their children in a loving environment.    Sonny made sure to attend his grandchildren’s’ competitions around the state and across the country.  He was also a great friend to many.  He appreciated the visits of so many special friends when he moved into Eastridge.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Judith (VanGilder) Bourne, daughter Kristine (Bourne) Henning, and brother William Bourne.

He is survived by his children Dawn (Mark) Lackey of Lindsborg, KS, Tracy (Jill) Bourne of Colwich, KS, son-in-law Todd Henning of Shawnee, KS, 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established with both the Centralia Community Fund, and the Onaga Booster Club.

Visitation with family present will be held Thursday, June 13 from 6:00-8:00 PM and the service will be held Friday, June 14 at 10:00 AM, both being held at the West Centralia Community Church in Centralia, KS. The burial will be at the Vermillion Cemetery after the services.

The family would like to thank the staff members of the Centralia Clinic, Eastridge Skilled Nursing Facility, and Phoenix Home Care & Hospice for their care and support of Sonny.   Condolences may be left for the family at http://www.lauerfuneralhome.com/.

 

Visitation with family present will be held Thursday, June 13 from 6:00-8:00 PM and the service will be held Friday, June 14 at 10:00 AM, both being held at the West Centralia Community Church in Centralia, KS. The burial will be at the Vermillion Cemetery after the services.

Visitation with family present will be held Thursday, June 13 from 6:00-8:00 PM and the service will be held Friday, June 14 at 10:00 AM, both being held at the West Centralia Community Church in Centralia, KS. The burial will be at the Vermillion Cemetery after the services.

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9 Comments

  1. Donna Kramer on June 9, 2024 at 9:07 pm

    🙏🏻 prayers and sympathy for family and friends 🙏🏻

  2. Corey Ross on June 10, 2024 at 2:38 am

    Coach Bourne was an amazing coach but better human being. He was such a hilarious man. I’ll forever cherish the time I spent with him traveling to the state track meet 28 years ago. I’d never have made it to it without his amazing coaching and belief in me. You will be missed Coach Bourne. To the family my deepest sympathies and condolences… love you Coach Bourne!

    • Deb Schuetz Whitebird on June 11, 2024 at 7:17 am

      Sonny, although he didn’t know it, made me a better basketball player. The odd part is that I was from another school, one of his opponents! We had mutual respect for each other as a coach and athlete. That was over 45 years ago. I ran in to him at the casino’s once in a while. Same Sonny, big smile and always remembered me. I know the town of Centralia and Onaga will miss him, what a legacy he leaves behind. May God bless all the family and friends.

  3. Shelly (Flint) Ballard on June 10, 2024 at 5:13 am

    One of the first teachers who welcomed our family when we moved to Onaga. I was enrolling the kids in school, and in walked in Mr. Bourne. He looked at my daughter and said “Come on..let me show you where your classes are.” As they walked through the door, I heard him ask, “So, Jayme, do you know how to play chess? Yes???? Good…you are on the chess team.” And the rest, as they say, is history. So many great and funny stories of this man. He will be missed. The Flint family sends light, love and prayers to all.

  4. Bailey (Harder) Starns on June 11, 2024 at 9:59 am

    Mr. Bourne was such a wonderful teacher, and I will forever be grateful for the things he taught me. Even more importantly, for the WAY he taught. He had the best sense of humor and made class so much fun. You will be missed, Mr. Bourne!

    • David Clements on June 11, 2024 at 2:53 pm

      Would like to express my condolences to Sonny’s family and friends. He truly represents the highest standard and excellence for not only the teaching profession, but also the coaching profession. His concern for his students as well as his players were always shown in what they were to do! He will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace, and enjoy your casino runs with your wife! Rest in Peace.

  5. Amy (Zumbahlen) Wasinger on June 12, 2024 at 9:42 pm

    Mr. Sonny Bourne was a true light in the world! Some of my best memories of HS involve him. He was a true friend to my dad and will be fondly remembered by our family. As we say at the Zumbahlen house “We all have a Sonny story” May his soul rest in eternal peace.

  6. Dorothy Dolsky on June 19, 2024 at 8:24 pm

    Dear Bourne family, My sympathy at the passing of your loved one. My husband, Jerry, and I were very good friends of Sonny and Judy when we all taught at Whiting High School. Tracy and our son, Mark, were the same age and loved playing together. So sorry to learn that Judy has also passed away, but I can be happy knowing that all three–Jerry, Sonny, and Judy are rejoicing with Jesus in heaven. Dorothy Dolsky

  7. Renee Becker (Crisler) on July 2, 2024 at 11:40 am

    Coach Bourne impacted my life in so many ways…truly blessed to have been his student, play for him, run track under his guidance. I am grateful for his patience and persistence with a rebellious teenager…As Amy Z. Wasinger said, everyone has a Sonny story (well, Coach B story anyway). Hope he continues to influence others on his journey in Heaven.

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