An Elkhart icon, Sophie dies at 90

Local personality Sophie Starzenski has died.
Posted on March 15, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 15, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.

Sophie Starzenski was one of Elkhart’s best-known personalities.

She died Wednesday at the age of 90.

A 1941 graduate of Elkhart High School, Sophie was an activitist. She ran for several public offices, including county sheriff, mayor and judge as a Democrat. She also was a frequent visitor to City Hall — and even picketed there in a leopard bikini when she was in her 60s. She was a regular caller to WTRC’s “Sound Off” program.

Sophie was born in Elyria, Ohio, and lived in Michigan and South Bend before moving to Elkhart with her family — parents Frank and Pauline, three brothers and a sister — when she was young.

She was well known around the city because she was often seen riding her bicycling with her canine companion running next to her.

Sophie was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

Friends may call from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Billings Funeral Home, where a parish vigil and Rosary service will be held at 6 p.m. Friends may also call for one hour prior to the 10 a.m. funeral Monday at St. Vincent’s. Sophie will be buried with military honors by the U.S. Marine Corp Honor Guard at St. Vincent Cemetery after the funeral. A dinner will be provided at the church after the burial.

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