Frederic Arthur Sonnenberg of The Villages, Fla., and Oak Bluffs died at home on Nov. 25, surrounded by his family. He was 84.

He was born in East Orange, N.J. on Oct. 21, 1932 to Margaret I. (MacClellan) and Arthur J. Sonnenberg.

Fred enjoyed a long career as a professional engineer. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northeastern University. After graduation, he served as an officer with the Army Corps of Engineers as an aeronautical research engineer for NACA (later NASA) Ames Aerolab, Moffit Airfield, Calif.. His assignment in atmosphere entry simulation gave him the opportunity to meet and work with many space pioneers such as Alfred Eggers and Wernher Von Braun.

After NACA, he returned to the East Coast and spent several years at the Foxboro Company. As a dedicated Patriots fan, he worked to get town approvals and funding for the first Patriots Stadium.

Fred was an avid golfer. After moving to Martha’s Vineyard he found his best job ever — course engineer for Farm Neck Golf Club. He worked there for 30 years and was a familiar sight traversing the course in a golf cart with a big yellow dog at his side.

On the Vineyard, he served on various town committees, was a director of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and was active in humane groups, rescuing and fostering animals. Retiring to The Villages, he continued to work as a consultant until his illness this spring.

He was many things to many people — loving husband, father, grandfather, friend — everybody’s Mr. Fix-it, always ready to help friends and neighbors with any project big or small.

He is survived by his son Alan and his wife Linda of The Villages; his son Wade and wife Aliona of Oak Bluffs; and his daughter Kristen, her husband David, and their son Nicholas of Oak Bluffs and Norton. He was predeceased by his brother Alan. He also leaves his wife and partner of 40 years, Marion Burke.

If you want to honor Fred, his family asks that you use your talents to help someone else as Fred would, or donate to your local animal shelter. 

A gathering will be held on Martha’s Vineyard next summer. An online guestbook is available at