Hanne Sonquist

Date of Birth

September 1st, 1931

Date of Death

May 1st, 2009

Memorial Meeting

Santa Barbara Friends


Hanne was born in Vienna, Austria, to Doctors Ella and Joseph Deutsch in September 1931. Her family immigrated to Chicago in 1938 to escape the Nazis. In 1949 Hanne became a member of the Religious Society of Friends. Hanne met John Sonquist through the Chicago Circle Pines Co-op youth programs. They were married in 1950 while attending the University of Chicago. In 1959 they moved to Ann Arbor, MI, where John began teaching at the university. After the birth of their three children between 1954 and 1961, Hanne returned to school to complete a master’s degree in early childhood education.

In 1970 Hanne and John moved to Santa Barbara, CA, where they transferred their membership to the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting. Hanne joined the University of California, Santa Barbara Graduate School of Education where she helped develop the early childhood education curriculum, and helped found Santa Barbara’s Centro Familiar, a family care center and preschool. In 1974, Hanne joined the faculty at Santa Barbara City College and began a 23 year tenure as Director of the Starr King Parent Child Workshop. The nurturing environment she created at the Starr King Parent Child Workshop was one of her greatest achievements. It was a place where parents with young children could learn how to become good parents and advocates for the welfare of children. In 1980, Hanne received certification as a marriage and family therapist, continuing her private practice until 2009.

Hanne was a lifelong activist for peace and justice. She participated in Women’s Strike for Peace, many different marches and vigils for peace and civil rights in Washington, D.C., New York, and Santa Barbara. Hanne’s legacies to the Santa Barbara community were many – as a teacher, volunteer, therapist, and activist.

Hanne and John shared a love of music, attending, supporting, and participating in many musical venues in Santa Barbara. Hanne sang in the Santa Barbara Choral Society. For many years Hanne and John hosted the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting annual Christmas family sing, and also other Meeting events.

As a dedicated and active member of Santa Barbara Friends Meeting, Hanne served on several committees, including clerk of the Ministry and Oversight Committee, and co-clerk of Meeting. The Santa Barbara Meeting community valued and appreciated her ministry.

After a long struggle with lymphoma, Hanne died peacefully in May 2009, surrounded by her loving family. Hanne was an extraordinary wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, mentor and children’s advocate. She is survived by her husband John; children Eric, Catherine, and Kristen; five grandchildren, and her brother Steven Deutsch.