Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Hells Angels and for years the face of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, will be laid to rest at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon. His memorial service later in the day at a Stockton speedway is expected to draw thousands.
Barger served in the Army from 1953 to 1955 and was honorably discharged. Barger died of cancer in June at the age of 83.
Services at Stockton 99 Speedway, 4105 N. Wilson Way, begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, The tightly controlled, invitation-only five-hour ceremony will feature speakers, music and remembrances of Barger. Motorcycle clubs’ representation at the service will be limited. Weapons and drugs are prohibited. The funeral will be livestreamed on Speedunion TV, an Eventbrite announcement read.
Multiple law enforcement agencies will close off access to the cemetery in Dixon to all uninvited guests. An estimated 1,000 people are expected to attend the private interment.
Born in Modesto on Oct. 8, 1938, Ralph Hubert “Sonny” Barger, was also an author and an actor, but it was as founder of the Oakland Hells Angels in the late 1950s, his subsequent rise to its national president and the violence and criminality he presided over as the club’s leader that made his name.
His Hells Angels were infamously hired by the Rolling Stones to provide security for the 1969 Altamont rock concert in which motorcycle club members battered festivalgoers and stabbed one to death. Barger faced numerous drug and gun charges into the 1980s, was acquitted of murder in 1972 and again after a 1979 arrest on federal racketeering charges. He served stretches in prison before walking away from Hell’s Angels leadership in the late 1990s.
Barger would later write books and memoirs, and appear on television.