Walter "Sonnie" Cler

December 10, 1931 ~ June 5, 2022 (age 90)


Walter “Sonnie” Cler passed away peacefully at the age of 90 on Sunday 5 June 2022 at the Country Health Care and Rehab, Gifford Illinois. Sonnie was born on 10 December 1931 in Tuscola Illinois to Roman and Francis Cler. He was a 1946 graduate of Saint Lawrence School and 1950 graduate of Armstrong High School.

Sonnie served with the United States Air Force from January 1952 until March 1960. He was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois and served in the Korean War. After 26-years of employment, he retired from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1988 at the age of 57.

On 17 May 1952, he married the love of his life, Janet Marie Zindars. They recently celebrated 70-years together. He is survived by their 5 children: John R. “Randy” (Bonnie) Cler of Wasilla, Alaska. Gregory (Teresa) Cler of St. Joseph, Illinois, Chris Cler of Penfield Illinois, Lori (Mike) Pflugmacher of Penfield Illinois, Lisa Cler (Marc Howard) of Cicero Indiana, 14 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and four siblings. He is proceeded in death by his parents, four siblings, and two infant sons Jon Duane and Ricky John.

Sonnie was a member of the Knights of Columbus and an active parishioner of St. Elizabeth’s` Catholic Church in Thomasboro and St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Penfield. An avid welder, he was known far and wide for his ornamental iron work, which continues to be displayed throughout south central Illinois in both public institutions and private homes. Considered by many as the “town mayor”, he could often be found tootling around town on his golf cart. He enjoyed long afternoon naps with his pups and spending time with his grandkids. When he wasn’t building fine oak household décor with his beloved, they looked forward to evening drives to the Forest Preserve counting deer and checking on the geese population. 

Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on Wednesday 8 June 2022 at Freese Funeral Home, 302 E. Grand Avenue, St. Joseph Illinois. A public rosary will take place at 4:30 pm. 
Services will be held on Thursday 9 June 2022.  A brief viewing will take place at the St. Lawrence Catholic Church Hall from 9:00 – 10:00 am. Mass will begin at 10:30 am at the St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 302 Main Street, Penfield Illinois. Burial services will follow immediately at St. Lawrence Cemetery, 2712 County Road 2900 N, Penfield. A light luncheon will be held at the St. Lawrence Catholic Church Hall after.

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations in Sonnie’s name to donor’s choice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Walter "Sonnie" Cler, please visit our floral store.

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June 8, 2022

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Freese Funeral Home
302 E. Grand
St. Joseph, IL 61873

Funeral Service
June 9, 2022

10:30 AM
St. Lawrence Catholic Church Hall

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