OBITUARY: Sonja Lou Barham


Sonja Lou Barham was born on September 2, 1940 in Hardburly, KY and passed away on August 17, 2023 in Antioch, Tennessee.

Proceeded in Death By
Father: George Albert Lawson
Mother: Trina Pratt Lawson
Son: Christopher Daniel Hensley

Survived By
Husband: Gordon Barham, married 49 years
Son: Keith Hensley and daughter in law Jill Hensley, and grandsons Sam & Caleb Hensley
Grandchildren: Jeremy and Rachael Hensley
Daughter-in-Law: Teresa Hensley
Son: David Barham and daughter in Candace Barham, grandson, and wife Tanner & Lucy Barham great-grandchildren Delilah & Willow
Daughter: Lisa Barham
Daughter: Cathy and son-in-law John Witherspoon, and grandchildren Garrett and Siena Witherspoon
Sister: Bonnie Saindon
Niece: Rebecca Parks and husband Jarod Parks
Many additional extended family and friends

Sonja Lou was born on 9/2/40 in Hardburly, KY, but spent her formative years in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A graduate of Willow Run High School…..she was very popular and by far the best dancer in school. It could be said…..and it probably was…..that she unintentionally caused trouble with some couples… because all the boys wanted to dance with her at the school dances and at the “Tin Can Teen”! Sonja Lou loved to dance……which she also passed down to her two boys.

In 1965……Sonja gave birth to Keith Samuel in January……and then to Christopher Daniel later the same year in November.

Always a strong and determined woman……Sonja wanted a better life for her and “the boys”. “The boys” were always the focal point of every decision she ever made. In June of 1973……she moved the three of them to Nashville, TN to begin a new life with the help of her sister, Bonnie Saindon.

Sonja and Bonnie were not just sisters……they were mother and aunt…..mother and mother…..and mother and father to “the boys”. From teaching “the boys” baseball, how to dance, taking them to see the Jackson Five, and just helping them get acclimated in their new world…….Sonja Lou and Bonnie laid the foundation for “the boys” to have a great life.

In early 1974……Sonja went on a date with Gordon Barham…who she met at work. After several months of dating……it became clear that something special was taking hold. “The boys” loved Gordon from the beginning. While his orange jeans were cool……it was his gentle and loving ways that connected all of them.

On 9/28/74……Sonja and Gordon were married…..and thus created their blended family with Lisa, Keith, Chris, David, and Kathy. Married just shy of 50 years……their love for one another was unconditional and serves as a foundation for generations to come.

Sonja Lou had a strong faith in the Lord…….and was a great harmony singer of her favorite traditional gospel Hymns. She was with “her boys” in their home, on a Wednesday night in 1975…..when they both gave their hearts to the Lord and accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. Through the years……she would reminisce about that moment with great clarity and comfort… she knew they would be together.

Birthdays……anniversaries…….and the holidays…..were always extremely important moments to Sonja Lou. BIG meals for large family gatherings were just easy for her. While she seldom ate the large feast she prepared for her family……she relished with great joy that everyone was there……and that they ate everything she prepared. She knew what everyone loved……and ensured each item was a part of the dining options. Very seldom were there any leftovers for anyone to take home. But if there were……debate on who was getting what would often take place.

As life does……the last nearly 50 years of marriage to Gordon…..and her 83 years on earth……have gone by far too quickly. In Sonja Lou’s latter years, she battled several health issues with a fierce commitment and determination of a true warrior. Gordon (Pop, Dad) was her devoted primary care giver…..and took incredible care of her until the very end. With her body tired and worn out, her Lord and Savior called her home and healed her as promised.

Sonja Lou loved hard and loved deeply! Her greatest joy came from having her family around her……and working hard to create “great memories” for everyone.

The “memories” are great and too many to list. As a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a wife, a mother, a mother in law, grandmother, great grandmother, and a friend…..Sonja Lou will be missed tremendously by everyone.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday, August 21, 2023 at Bond Memorial Chapel. Visitation will be one hour prior to service time.

Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN (615)773-2663.


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