Larry Sonner

Resident, Brio of Johnston 

Larry Sonner and his wife Sue will be residents at Brio, the new Johnston Community for Healthy Living slated to open later this summer.  He and Sue currently reside in Urbandale.  Larry was born and raised in St. Joseph MO, and lived in Kansas City and Bloomfield, Michigan prior to coming to Urbandale Iowa.

Larry attended Central Methodist College, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Advanced Pastoral Studies and Aquinas Institute.  He served as a Pastor or in a counseling role in two churches before becoming the Director of the Pastoral Care and Counseling Center in Des Moines. During his career he received many honors.  Of few of which include Courageous 6 Award, Faith of Freedom Award and the Social Action Award.  He was a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Larry and Sue have three children and nine grandchildren. He enjoys swinging on his back porch swing with his “kitty” on his lap, reading novels, doing errands and enjoying the company of his two cats, Heidi and Honey. He has always enjoyed his grandchildren, baseball and softball, soccer, football on television, music, playing ping pong and grilling outside.

Larry and Sue are current members at Grace united Methodist Church.


Read the Transcript of Larry's Devotional:

I am pleased to tell you when I was asked to give this brief message I learned that the overall theme of these messages is “THE POWER OF PURPOSE”.   When I heard that theme I immediately thought of a book written many years ago by Viktor Frankl who was a holocaust survivor. He was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who wrote about his experience in the concentration camps and noticed the differences between those who were able to survive those horrible/atrocious conditions and those who simply could not go on.  One of the main differences he observed was that the survivors could still find meaning or purpose in their lives even in those conditions. Here was the key: there was this internal conviction that they did not allow to be destroyed by those circumstances that they were experiencing….this conviction that they would continue to hold the meaning and the purpose they possessed in their lives.

Friends the Power of Purpose is indeed very strong and lasting and it seems to me that one of the privileges of living in a Wesley Community Retirement facility is that we may have even more time/energy to ruminate about our meaning and purpose in life because at least some of the things we simply have to do when we are living in our own place will not have to have the attention and energy given to them that our own home demanded.

We will have the luxury of having the time and energy to explore even further how privileged we are to be in these circumstances and to explore more deeply that internal purpose……that part of us that cannot be taken from us as Frankl said and that we can even bask in this phenomenon. 

You have probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where at the base of a pyramid is the need for food, shelter and then moves through safety and love and belonging and esteem and finally what he calls self-actualization.   That is, knowing who we really are, at least as is humanly possible, and being able to live that out in our everyday life.

Where better to experience that than in a setting where many of those basic needs are simply taken care of so that we can spend our time and energy in being who we really are, where we can live lives of meaning and purpose, where we can be our true self and be affirmed in that by those who live around us.  Hopefully that is present in this community.