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Edward Whately “Sonny” Applebe, 1929-2021

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On Friday, January 8, 2021, Edward Whately “Sonny” Applebe, loving husband, father, friend, and true Texas gentleman, passed away at age 91.

Sonny was born in Houston, Texas at St. Joseph’s Hospital on September 10, 1929, to Dr. Edward Whately Applebe, Sr. and Alva (Cain) Applebe Moore. He was raised in Liberty, Texas where, as a young man, he enjoyed rodeo events including bareback riding, bull riding and bull fighting (rodeo clown). Apart from periods as co-owner of Applebe & Walls Texaco in La Porte, Texas, and as the Sheriff of Liberty County Texas, Sonny spent his life in the heavy equipment business and ranching. At the age of 8o, Sonny earned his real estate license and joined his wife, Nancy, in farm and ranch real estate

Sonny brightened the room with his sparkling blue eyes and quick radiant smile while wearing short pants with cowboy boots and a hat — this was his style. Dancing “Sonny style” was his trademark on the dance floor. He enjoyed his annual gathering with his Vaquero brothers-FFL, sharing Bloody Maria’s with his family and friends, food accompanied by a bottle of Tabasco, playing 42, riding horses, telling stories, operating equipment, traveling to distant places to hunt or ride horses and so much more. Sonny was a character — truly one of a kind.

Sonny was proud to have served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp Reserve. He was a Master Mason of Liberty Lodge No. 48; served in Rotary and Lions Clubs, volunteered with Trinity Valley Exposition; the Houston Livestock Show & RodeoTM and was a member of the Tejas Vaquero Buclass of ‘91, Salt Grass Trail Ride and Wagon 7.

Sonny is preceded in death by son James Edward Applebe, son Russell Applebe, daughter-in-law, Angie Applebe and daughter-in-law Lyn Applebe. Sonny is survived by his wife, Nancy (Rusk), brother Dave Moore (Eddie Kilroy) and wife Elizabeth, daughter Colleen Hicks and husband Michael “PeeWee,” son Mabe Applebe, stepson Benny Peacock; grandchildren Clint Hicks and wife Carrie, James Applebe and wife Fefe, Jason Applebe and wife Yvonne, Jared Applebe, Jamison Applebe, Jordan Applebe and wife Jamie Marie; great grandchildren Hunter Hicks, Madison Applebe, Jackson Applebe, Nigella Applebe, James Antoinette Applebe, Joshua Applebe and Brooke Simpson.

A celebration of Sonny’s life is being planned for this Spring; details will be available soon.

In remembrance of Sonny, the family ask that trees be planted in his honor.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Koenig — Belvill Funeral Home & Cremations 208 W. Pearl, La Grange, Texas. Family and friends can view and sign the guestbook online at