Wanda Kathryn Sonnentag

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MIDDLETON/JANESVILLE–Wanda Kathryn Sonnentag of Middleton, formerly of Janesville, passed away peacefully at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison on April 29, 2021, at the age of 86.

Wanda was born on June 7, 1934, in Janesville to Floyd E. and Beatrice (Tewalt) Smith. She graduated from Janesville High School on June 4, 1953 and was employed in the office at the General Motors Plant and later worked as a title searcher for Modern Abstract and Title.

She married James William Sonnentag, a US Navy World War II veteran, on June 16, 1951, at First Christian Church in Janesville. They were together for 54 years until Jim's death on June 20, 2005. The musically talented young couple created a local band known as The Tiny Kay Orchestra. The name came from Wanda's petite four-foot ten-inch stature. However, due to family and work obligations, she soon retired from the music business and the orchestra disbanded.

Wanda loved to travel and see new and different places. She and her husband put many miles on their Winnebago recreational vehicle exploring just about every state in America. They spent many winters in Apache Junction, AZ, where Wanda could see the Superstition Mountains from the window of their home.

Her most memorable trip was to Australia where she got to hold a Koala. Her five grandchildren looked forward to their annual trip with grandma and grandpa to Long Lake near Hayward. Each trip started with a visit to the local grocery store where the kids got to choose whatever they wanted to eat, i.e. Double Stuf Oreo cookies, Doritos, etc.

Wanda was very active with the Rock County Democratic Party for many years and was a staunch United Auto Workers (UAW) supporter. In her retirement years she volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate working with children and families. You might have seen her walking at a good clip around Janesville.

Wanda is survived by her son, Kurt James Sonnentag (Kristine) of Middleton, a former city alderman who was the sixth mayor of Middleton (from 2007-2017); a granddaughter, Sarah Zephirin (Greg) and great-grandsons, Zakary and Jaksen of Tigard, OR; a granddaughter, Susannah Welch (Mike) and a great-grandson, Lincoln of Middleton; a grandson, James Sonnentag (Kateri Farrell) of Nashville, TN; a grandson, Kortney Sonnentag (Carey) of Minneapolis, MN; a grandson, Kyler Sonnentag (Kayla) of White Salmon, WA; a daughter-in-law, Jennifer (Miller) Sonnentag (Todd MacDonald) of McFarland; and a niece, Claire Green (Scott) of Edgerton.

In addition to her husband, James, she was preceded in death by her parents Floyd E. Smith (June 1960) and Beatrice E. Tewalt Smith (November 1995); a son, Kipp S. Sonnentag (September 20, 2011); a grandson, Carter James Moll (November 9, 2015); her brothers, Galen Smith, Duane Smith and Everette Smith; her sister, Charmain Smith; and a niece, Gail Smith.

Wanda resided at The Jefferson Retirement Community, 9401 Old Sauk Road in Middleton, for her last six years. We are grateful for the caring staff of both The Jefferson and Recover Care who thoughtfully watched over her.

Per Wanda's wishes, no funeral service is planned. Like her husband, Jim, her cremains will be scattered in Lake Superior by her immediate family members at a later date. Gunderson West Funeral Home in Middleton assisted the family. Online condolences may be made at gundersonfh.com.

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