Sodonna Ann “Donnie” Brister, age 72, of Troy, formerly of Collinsville and Granite City, IL, born on April 16, 1948 in Caruthersville, Missouri, passed from this life on Friday, February 5, 2021, in Edwardsville.
Sodonna began working for Illinois Bell Telephone Co. in 1966 at age 18 as a telephone operator. When the Bell System was broken up in 1984, she continued working for Ameritech in the Central Office until her retirement in 1999, 32 ½ years (and without a single sick day) later, though she’d be the first to tell you, “Old Ma Bell, she ain’t what she used to be.” We had shirts to prove it.
Sodonna was very active in her younger years and was an avid water and snow-skier. She was brave enough to take two of her surrogate nieces out-of-state on their first skiing trip when they were only 7 and 10. She cherished her high school years as a trumpeter in the Granite City HS Band, and she would later return to those roots serving as a “Band Aunt” for the Edwardsville HS Band for seven years. She loved crafting of any variety and did everything from tole painting to crochet to plastic canvas to ceramics and beyond, but she was especially fond of making floral arrangements. The thrill of the project was often more satisfying than its completion. Sodonna line-danced her way through life to the tunes of Elvis, the Statler Brothers, Neil Diamond, and many others. She loved animals of all sorts, but especially dogs. She had several very special dogs and surrogate dogs through the years.
Sodonna loved to travel and had visited most of the United States (including multiple trips to Alaska and Hawaii) as well as Europe and Australia. She sometimes traveled with a walking group, but she loved to go with her friends or nieces and their families. She was always on the hunt for a good souvenir. She will be remembered for her sassy spirit and never-ending sense of adventure.
Sodonna was preceded in death by her parents Herschel Lee Brister and Martha Ann (nee King) Brister.
She is survived by aunts, uncles, and cousins; special aunt Sara Ruth Bussey of Vicksburg, Mississippi; special aunt and uncle Doris and Franklin “Cork” King of Alamogordo, New Mexico; four endeared surrogate nieces: Alexia (Mike) Eberhart of Cape Coral, Florida, Laura (Mike) Lorts of Troy, Arin (Dan) Phillips of Glen Carbon, and Amy (Matt) Whitehead of Mitchell; and nine surrogate great nieces and nephews: Tessa (Ian) Stembridge of Obermohr, Germany, Colton and Astin Eberhart, Rylie and Makenzie Lorts, Bryn and Ryan Phillips, and Tessa and Tate Whitehead. The family extends its heartfelt thanks to the staff at Morningside of Troy, especially Karen and Brady, for the loving care they have given Sodonna throughout the past four years.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Irwin Chapel, 591 Glen Crossing Road in Glen Carbon. A celebration of Sodonna’s life will follow at 12:00 p.m. at Irwin Chapel, Glen Carbon, with Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Mrs. Gail Mueller officiating. Interment will take place in Sunset Hills Memorial Gardens, Glen Carbon, IL.
Memorials can be made to APA of Granite City, IL or Partners 4 Pets of Troy, IL.
Irwin Chapel was in charge of the arrangements