Born 13 March 1941, Ian John Sonnemann grew up in Murmungee and Beechworth. He played football with Wangaratta, Beechworth, Tallangatta and Powerhouse in the VAFA. In 1977-78 he returned to Wangaratta to umpire home games, both against Wodonga, and an away game against North Albury in 1980.
The road to those appointments started when Ian began umpiring in 1962 with the VAFA. In 1964 he moved to Canberra and umpired in the ACTAFL (1965-67)and NSWAFL (1970-73). It was a successful change as he umpired the NSWAFL grand final in 1972 and the interstate match, NSW v Queensland, in the same year. He also held executive positions in NSWAFL Umpires’ Association as secretary (1972) and vice-president (1973). According to the 1973 NSWAFL UA annual report he umpired 68 first grade matches during his time on their list.
Between these two northern stints he umpired on the VFL senior list from 1968-69. Returning to Victoria Ian joined the VFA in 1974 and re-joined the VFL senior list the following year where he umpired until 1982 before completing his umpiring career at Eastern Districts in 1983.
While on the VFL list Ian umpired 151 VCFL matches which included 5 finals. He was awarded AFLUA life membership in 1983.
Ian passed away peacefully on 31 August 2018, surrounded by his family after a long illness, an inspiration to us all.