Obituaries Announcements

Melvin " Sonny " Bourne, Jr.
Lauer Funeral Home in Seneca
Centralia , KS

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- sports at Centralia High School, and served as the first women- 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-’ 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