NEW IBERIA, LA – Sonia (Lannie) Alexander died peacefully from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on Monday, November 14, with her daughter Janna DeLury and son-in-law Gilbert Seaman at her side.
Born on December 17, 1940, in Mobile, AL, Sonia was the beloved daughter of Ordie and Mary Lannie. She attended Alba High School in Bayou La Batre, AL, where she was voted homecoming queen by her classmates. After graduation, she worked at First Federal Bank in Mobile, AL. She later married Michael DeLury in 1962 and they had two children, Michael and Janna. During their marriage the family lived in Florida, California, Japan, Nevada, Colorado, and New Jersey before settling in Wilmington, VT, in 1971.
Sonia’s love for Wilmington was immediate and she made it her permanent home. Sonia was selected as the town manager in 1976, a position she would hold for almost 30 years. Sonia loved her work and felt it was a privilege to serve her community. The state and town recognized her accomplishments on numerous occasions, most notably when she became Vermont’s town manager of the year.
Sonia’s first retirement was short-lived. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns requested she consider serving as the interim town manager for Stowe. As expected, she agreed and served for six months before retiring again. Then in 2007 the town of Westminster called and she agreed again to be an interim manager. She promised herself, the town, her family, and her friends, that it was for one year only. However, in 2008 she assumed the full-time position as Westminster’s town manager. In 2011 Sonia retired for good and moved back to her favorite place, Wilmington. Unfortunately, due to Alzheimer’s disease, her retirement in Wilmington was cut short and she relocated to New Iberia, LA, to be with Janna and Gilbert.
Sonia loved her family dearly and enjoyed spending as much time with them as possible, especially her grandchildren Meagan and Seth, who called her “Mamsie.” Being a grandmother meant the world to her and wherever Michael and his wife Christine were stationed, Sonia would visit often. She traveled all over the country to visit, including memorable trips to the Netherlands. She was also blessed with two great-granddaughters, Sonia and Lanna Spinelli.
Sonia was a quick study and lifelong learner who was passionate about personal and professional growth. This was helped by her voracious appetite for reading and new experiences. She had a passionate appreciation for all the arts, which inspired her to take up painting in her 40s. She was also known for her prowess as a poker player, her love of gardening, cooking, and her mastery of the NY Times Sunday crossword. Some say she was also obsessed with rearranging furniture, her own and others. Sonia loved to travel, meet people, and experience other cultures. She was a true bohemian at heart.
Sonia was kind, generous, and had a wonderful sense of humor. Although Alzheimer’s disease took her memories, the best of her personality prevailed to the end.
Sonia is survived by her son Michael (Christine) DeLury, of Wilmington, NC; her daughter Janna (Gilbert Seaman) DeLury, of New Iberia; granddaughter Meagan (Paul) Spinelli, of Boston; grandson Seth DeLury, of Boston; and sisters Penny Fickling, of Charlotte, NC, and Peggy Seaman, of Bayou la Batre, AL. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers David Lannie and Dennis Lannie, all of Bayou la Batre, AL.
Sonia’s interment and celebration of life will take place at Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington during the spring of 2023. Notice for this celebration will be posted at a later date for all those who wish to attend.