Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Julius “Sonny” Essenburg

June 1, 2019
Holland, MI


Celebration of Life

Thursday, June 13, 2019
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Boatwerks Event Center
216 Van Raalte Ave
Holland, MI 49423
(616) 396-0600

Life Story / Obituary


Julius (Sonny) Charles Essenburg was born on June 21, 1928 in Holland, Michigan, the son of Jacob and Rose Essenburg, Sr. His father was a local businessman and developer who passed away in 1992. His parents were members of 14th Street Christian Reformed church and traced their ancestry back to the Netherlands.

Sonny started his career working closely with his family, and side by side with his brother Jacob (Jun) in Holland, Michigan. Together they owned and operated a produce store in the late 1940’s with produce delivery to area restaurants and hotels. In 1956 they built a bowling center, Northland Lanes, and operated it with their 3 sisters until 1986 when the sisters retired. In 1969 the car wash business was started with the first Quality Car Wash location, South Shore Car Wash, on West 17th St. in Holland. Soon after they purchased the car wash on 6th St and River Ave, and later built the 8th St location in 1972. Sonny and Jun continued working together in property ventures thru his last days.

A great encourager and motivator in many businesses, Sonny always offered a positive word of encouragement, and enjoyed helping others succeed. He was a supporter of Restoration Ministries in Harvey IL, and others whose mission is to "advance faith, family and freedom from a Christian worldview”. Sonny was blessed with many good things in his life including his family, his friends, and his faith in God.

He suffered with COPD as well as heart disease for a number of years. He was a strong man and often managed to recover and meet for a cup of coffee with friends. A special “Thank you” to Dr. Thomas Burns, Holland Hospital, Freedom Inn, Spectrum Meijer Heart and Rest Haven for their excellent care, those who gave him a little more time to enjoy his life.

Julius is survived by his brother, Jacob (Jun) and Beth Essenburg, Jr., his sister Mae Rose Essenburg, his children, Carol and Randy Bowerman of Holland, Gail and Don Richter, and Jim Essenburg both of Wyoming, MI., and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Julius is preceded in death by his son Jack Essenburg, his grandson Jake Naber, by his parents, his sisters Elberdene Essenburg and Lillian Essenburg, his cousin and good friend, Ben (Grace) Essenburg, and his dear friend Beverly Harper who passed away April 23, 2019.

The family is planning a private service. In memory of Sonny please consider a gift, or gift of service that will bless another with the message of Christ.

Please join the family on June 13th from 4-6pm at Boatwerks Event Center to celebrate Sonny's life.