YORKTOWN — Sonny Gideon, a well-known community member, waiter, husband, and father of three sons, passed away in his sleep on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.
Sonny was known for always putting others above himself. He enjoyed taking time to talk with people in the community and getting to know others on a personal level.
“He genuinely loves people, and he would do anything for them,” said Sonny’s wife Sherrie Gideon. “His empathy for other people, his interest for other people, it wasn’t all about him. He was genuinely interested in other people.”
Many community members and visitors to the area know Sonny as a waiter that worked at The Whaling Company for 29 years.
“He was very loyal to work, and he left a huge impact,” said Sonny’s youngest son Eddie Gideon. “At one point he had maybe 1/10 to a quarter of the business coming into the restaurant asking for him. People wanted to see Sonny. If Sonny wasn’t there they would say ‘Oh, we’ll just come back. When does he work again? Oh, Friday? Okay, we’ll come back Friday.'”
As one of the lead servers at the restaurant, Sonny would not only provide great service but he would go above and beyond by connecting with customers, and by sharing his stories with everyone that he came in contact with.
“People enjoyed his stories, his love, his care,” said Eddie. “Everyone loved him because they could relate to him. He was always, as a friend of mine put it, ‘sunny, bright.’ He was everyone’s dad essentially. They came in to see him as if they came in to see a father.”
Born in Columbia, S.C., most of Sonny’s youth was spent in nearby Greenville. In 1987, Sonny and Sherrie moved to Seaford, where they have lived 35 years. It was in this little corner of the county where they raised a family. During that time, Sonny left an undeniable impact on the community.
“No one was a stranger to him. He could not even pump gas without talking to the other person on the other side,” said Sherrie. “I said, ‘Can’t we just get gas?.’ He would talk to them about their car, or he’d find something. He would just make a conversation. So many people know him because he just takes a personal interest in everybody.”
Sonny’s interest in being available for others in the community didn’t stop at work nor at the gas station. He also found ways to give back to the community with his involvement at Victory Life Church. He helped out at food drives and other community events with his church.
“He loved people so much. They’d give out food and they gave out clothes. We see so many people every month. I think we had 40 people come in last month,” said Sherrie. “He just loved people and he would do anything for people. He walked the walk. He didn’t just talk the talk.”
Sonny’s family has started a GoFundMe page and is asking the community to help with funeral arrangements and memorial costs.
A funeral for Sonny is set for Friday, Jan. 14 at 1:30 pm with a viewing an hour before the service. The viewing and the funeral are going to be held at Victory Life Church 1741 W Queen St, Hampton, VA 23666.
The burial will take place at 3 p.m. at Hampton Memorial Gardens.