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Memorial Day: Sister uses her gifts to honor her brother, a fallen soldier

NEENAH — The art of making or repairing a violin is a methodical one. For Sonja St. John, that structure and routine are a necessity and, in many ways, a saving grace.

“It’s a way to stay on track even when chaos can be happening right outside,” she said of a process that she ends with gluing a different handwritten message inside each new violin she creates.

One recent one read: “In honor of past, present and future souls of courage and wisdom.”

Foremost in her mind is her brother, Jon St. John, an Army specialist who died in Iraq.