WTOC’s lead anchor for 18 years; Emmy award-winner; five-term congressman in the Georgia House of Representatives; board member of the United Way, Rape Crisis Center, Boy Scouts, and more. He’s got more kudos than you can shake a stick at.
Talk to the local media sensation awhile and certain themes repeat: the altruism of others, his daughter Emily and his wife Margaret. In a world of high divorce rates increasingly among seniors, Sonny’s 35-year-long marriage is no small feat. "We’re kindred spirits,” he says, sharing his secret to marital longevity. “She completes me. She’s my best buddy. Nobody I’d rather be with. The greatest part of it all is the friendship.”
A household name to Savannahians, Sonny is most content at home with Margaret and his pooch, curtains drawn, doors locked. The private Sonny buys American, rides a Harley, and likes to “romp and stomp and have a ball.” He wears Allen Edmonds shoes and traveled to the cheese state just to meet the folks who make them.
“I’m fascinated by people,” he says. “I probably should have studied anthropology.” Which makes it hard to change the topic from his Scotch-Irish roots and genealogy hobby. “I’ll be embarrassed now if I find out I’m German,” he grants, awaiting delivery of his DNA kit from Ancestry.com.
His primary preoccupation since retiring in mid-2015? “Goofing off,” he admits. Except for giving up his day job, however, Sonny’s retirement resembles business as usual. “I never turn down a school,” he says, recounting one example of the volunteer work he continues, which includes reading to kids and attending spelling bees.