Thelma Sonksen was born Feb. 7, 1912, to Allie and Edith Sheldon Paul in Odebolt, the sixth child in a family of seven. Thelma graduated from Odebolt High School as valedictorian in 1930. She received a two-year certificate from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls in 1932.
Thelma married Marvin Sonksen Oct. 5, 1932. They had three daughters, Janet, Lynne and Judy. They farmed south of Odebolt for several years moving into Odebolt in 1953. Thelma joined the Odebolt Chronicle staff April 3, 1953, as local and social news editor. In 1962 she was named editor of the newspaper. Thelma worked with three publishers, Paul Wagner from 1953 until his death in 1959, Richard Wagner 1959-1974 and Robert Miller from 1974 until her retirement September 1977.
Thelma was a member of the Iowa Press Women and served as a District Director at one time. Her popular weekly column "Casual Comments" won awards in the Iowa Press Women competition as did her news stories and social page in the category of weekly newspapers in a town of less than 1,500 population.
Thelma was a member of the Odebolt United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women, Mary Circle, Eastern Star, Past Matrons, Isis Club, M and K Club, Odebolt Women's Club, Wheeler Improvement Club and a Birthday Club.
Survivors include her three daughters, Janet and Bill Bye of Prescott, Ariz., Lynne Bogh of Le Mars, and Judy Sonksen of Colorado Springs, Colo.; 17 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren, 29 great- great-grandchildren, and sister-in-law Fern Chester of Odebolt.
Preceding her in death were her husband, Marvin, Sept. 20, 1993; a grandson, Bill J. Brucker; three brothers, Verne, Archie and Milton Paul, and three sisters, Grace Paul, Winnie Scanlan and Amy Mauer.
Memorial services will be held in Odebolt at a later date.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.