What is Hamilton's Academy of Grief and Loss?

Death and grief are common human experiences, yet these experiences tend to be different for every individual. As a result, Hamilton's Academy of Grief & Loss offers a wide variety of resources available to you and your family as you begin to work through your grief.
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Academy of Grief and Loss
Academy Events

Academy Events

Hamilton's Academy of Grief and Loss offers a variety of services to educate, support and connect with those who are grieving.
Community Events

Community Events

Hamilton's Funeral Homes host a variety of events to serve and give back to our community.

Service Details


Friday, October 6, 2017
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa


Saturday, October 7, 2017
11:00 am
Plymouth United Church of Christ
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa


Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines, Iowa


Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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John Michael Sonnenburg

John Michael Sonnenburg, 63, of Urbandale, IA, passed away in peace and grace on September 29, 2017, at Mercy Hospice in Johnston, IA, from kidney cancer. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 7, at Plymouth United Church of Christ at 4126 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines. A visitation with family will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, October 6, at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway in West Des Moines.

John was born June 4, 1954, to Robert and Barbara Sonnenburg. John was raised in Memphis, TN. He was an Eagle Scout and later became a card-carrying Republican and an American patriot. John graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1976. He was a proud Boilermaker and a member of Triangle Fraternity.

John was a project executive for Harmon, Inc., and was assigned to the Seattle office. Previously, he worked for Enclos Corp. and was assigned to New York City projects. John also held vice president positions with glazing companies Apex, Flour City and Architectural Wall Systems. John’s career motto was “Under promise and over deliver.” His current leadership team said, “John was a legendary project executive known for his drive and meticulous attention to detail that he projected to all around him.” John left a lasting legacy in people as well as buildings.

John met his wife Sally through Match.com on his birthday in 2005. They were married in May 2006. Inscribed inside his wedding ring are the words from the title of their favorite movie, “As Good As It Gets.” John and Sally traveled to every location where he had lived throughout the United States and England.

John will be missed deeply by his beloved wife, Sally; and sons, Christian (Hannah) Sonnenburg of Tucson, AZ, Andrew (Megan) Sonnenburg of Ashland, MA, and Philip Sonnenburg of Richland Hills, TX; as well as the mother of his sons, Penny Sonnenburg-Willis; and grandchildren, Tristan, Jane and Nora Sonnenburg. Also left to cherish his memory are his brothers, Rick (Fay), Bill (Earline) and Roger (Teresa) Sonnenburg; and his sister, Peggy (Mark) Griffin; along with many nephews and a niece; his sister-in-law, Sue (John) Aho; brother-in-law, Ted (Carol) Griffieon; and his step-children, Laura (Colin) Ramsey, Mark (Holly) Robinson and their children, Alex, Camden and Lucy. Grandpa John will miss seeing his grandchildren grow up, but he leaves a legacy to be carried on in future generations.

The family wishes to thank the medical professionals and loving caregivers at Mercy Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic and Mercy Hospice. John and Sally also thank their Stephen Ministers at Plymouth Church.

Memorial contributions to continue John’s legacy may be directed to Triangle Education Foundation, 120 S. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168 (John Sonnenburg Scholarship Fund); the Purdue Foundation, 403 West Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907 (John Sonnenburg Endowment Fund); Above and Beyond Cancer at 1915 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309; or Plymouth United Church of Christ.

Condolences may be expressed online at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.