Sunny Gripenstraw, 76, of Oakdale passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, October 13, 2018 with her husband and three sons by her side.
Sunny was born in San Jose, CA in 1942 to Ray and Laura Sutton. She grew up in Chula Vista, CA, moved to Valley Home in 1959, and graduated from Oakdale High School in 1960. She met the love of her life, Kent Gripenstraw in 1960 and married Kent in 1962.
Over the next 56 years, Sunny and Kent built a loving family and life together. Her three boys and her family were her passion and delight. Sunny absolutely adored being a mother. While Kent served in the Air Force, Sunny and Kent raised the Gripenstraw family in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Washington, before returning to Oakdale in 1981. In Oakdale, Sunny worked at Hershey Chocolate and as Manager of the Holiday Motel.
Sunny was a legendary cook and baker and was well-known for her Christmas candy, cookies, and “Sunny Buns” that made the recipient feel well-loved and cared for. At Sunny’s house the cookie jar was always full, the flowers were bright and there was traffic at the hummingbird feeder.
Her delight in nurturing others and helping things grow was also reflected in her hobbies: gardening, antiquing, and needlepoint. Sunny was also a dear friend to many and had many lifelong friendships. Sunny was unflinchingly loyal, lovingly supportive, selfless to a fault, amazingly generous, and incredibly hardworking.
Sunny is survived by her loving husband Kent, her mother Laura Sutton, her brothers Bill and Bob Sutton, her three sons Bart, Brad, and Kirk, her daughter-in-law Michelle, seven grandsons (Zachary, Bailey, Henry, Jack, Tommy, Joseph, and Eli), and one granddaughter Katie. She was preceded in death by her father Ray and her brother Bruce.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to a charity that reflects Sunny’s passion for children, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Oct. 24, 2018