Elsie Mae was the first wife of Sonny Barger, who was an American outlaw biker, author, and actor who was a founding member of the Oakland, California, chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in 1957. He authored five books, and appeared on television and in film. Who Was Elsie Mae, Sonny Barger’s First Wife?
Sonny Barger Dies Aged 83
On Thursday, it was reported that Ralph “Sonny” Barger, the founder of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, had died at the age of 83. Sonny’s death was reported in a Facebook post published just before his passing. The post began: “If you are reading this message, you’ll know I’m gone. I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing.” The message continued, saying Sonny died after a “short struggle” with cancer, but he was surrounded by family and loved ones.
Elsie Mae, Sonny Barger’s First Wife
- Elsie Mae was Sonny Barger’s first wife.
- The two met when they were just teenagers and were married for nearly six years.
- They had one child together, a daughter named Joanna.
Sonny described Elsie Mae as a “wild child” who was always up for a good time. He said she was the life of any party and always knew how to have a good time. The two eventually divorced, but remained on good terms.
Moreover, Elsie Mae Barger, his first spouse, died on February 1, 1967 of an embolism caused by an unlawful termination of pregnancy. In 1969, he started dating Sharon Gruhlke, a former beauty queen from Livermore. Barger married Sharon Gruhlke while serving time at Folsom State Prison in 1973.
In 1983, Barger was diagnosed with throat cancer after years of smoking. His diagnosis and treatment took place at Fort Miley VA Hospital in San Francisco. Because his voice chords were cut, he was taught to vocalize by utilizing the muscles in his esophagus as a result of his stage III laryngeal cancer being operated on.
In 1998, Barger relocated to Arizona, where he had previously served a prison sentence, with his third wife Noel and stepdaughter Sarrah, who joined the Hells Angels’ Cave Creek chapter and worked as a motorcycle mechanic.
On March 7, 2003, Barger was taken into custody by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies after a reported domestic dispute with his wife, Noel, and stepdaughter, Sarrah, at their home in New River, Arizona. Noel had a fractured rib and back as well as a lacerated spleen. For aggravated assault, Barger was sentenced to eight days in jail.
- On June 25, 2005, Jim married his fourth wife, Zorana.
- He was married to Zorana until his death at the age of 83 from liver cancer on June 29, 2022.
- In 2012, Barger underwent prostate surgery as a result of prostate cancer.
- His prostate was removed and he was found to be free of disease afterward.