Sonya Sue (Welch) Johnson was born October 10, 1940, in Licking, Mo., to Leland and Elta (Caton) Welch. After graduating from Licking High School in May 1958, she married Robert Johnson on October 18, 1958. Bob and Sonya were blessed with three children, Roger Johnson, Melody (Mark) Espinoza and Clinton (Li Yen) Johnson.
Bob and Sonya traveled on the evangelistic field before holding pastorates in Crane, Mo., Pomona, Kan., and Ozark, Mo. In 1968, Bob and Sonya moved to South Kansas City where they spent the next 38-years as the Senior Pastors of Grandview Assembly of God. Grandview Assembly experienced tremendous growth under their leadership, while Sonya directed the youth choir for many of those years and was lovingly referred to as “Sister J” by all of her “kids.”
In addition to ministry within Grandview Assembly, Sonya organized and managed Shalom Ministries, which hosted tours to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Bob and Sonya were honored by Israel’s Department of Tourism for leading more than 50 groups to Israel. Then in 2007, Bob and Sonya moved to Kimberling City, Mo., where they spent the past 14-years as pastors of Ozark Mountain Assembly of God.
Sonya was a loving wife, Mom and Nana whose laughter would light up a room. She had a special gift of making everything and everyone grow with her warm touch.
She leaves to mourn her passing, her husband; three children; eight grandchildren, Elena, Evan and Jonathon Espinoza, Evin, Tovia, Eliezer, Uziel and Akiva Jacobs; brother, Wayne (Wanda) Welch; sister, Judy Bates; along with many extended family. Sonya was preceded in death by her parents; her brother-in-law, Loren Bates; her paternal grandparents, Charley and Ethel Welch; and maternal grandparents, Frank and Flossie Caton.