Sonja Marie Duke passed from the loving arms of her husband, Ed Duke, to the loving arms of our Lord on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the age of 81 years. Sonja was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. For the past 14 months, she carried the heavy cross of ALS with courage, strength and grace.
Sonja was a light to all who knew her. Her energy and warmth shone brightly. She lived a life of self-sacrifice; always putting others before herself. She will be lovingly remembered for her infectious laugh and big heart. Sonja had a gift to make everyone in her life feel special and important, and she was a gift to all of us. This humble soul was an expert gardener, a champion curler and bowler and handy-woman extraordinaire, yet she would rarely speak of her own accomplishments; she was much more interested in letting others share their stories. Sonja’s friends and family consider her the world’s greatest conversationalist because she really listened and showed genuine interest in everyone. Her generosity was often demonstrated when she “accidentally bought too much” of something at the store and told us that we would be doing her a favour by taking half of it.
Sonja was born on April 12, 1939 in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. She grew up in Oakburn, Manitoba, a small farming town where she developed a strong work ethic; the same work ethic behind her 35 years of nursing and playing the role of Mrs. Fix-Everything within the family homes, from Manitoba to Ontario to New Brunswick to Calgary. Besides seeing all of Canada and much of the United States, Sonja also enjoyed travelling with Ed to France, Italy, England, Turkey and China.
Sonja passed away two months shy of her 60th wedding anniversary with her loving husband, Ed. Together, they raised 3 children: Wendy, Chris, and Patrice. Besides her husband and children, she leaves behind Darcy, Jay and Vicki, her sons- and daughter-in-law. She also leaves behind 11 wonderful grandchildren: Ben (Megan), Samantha, Justin, Ryan, Maddie, Hannah, Sam, Emma, Olivia, Tucker, Lincoln and great-granddaughter, Norah. Sonja will also be lovingly remembered by her brother Ken, sister-in-law Sheila, nieces Keira and Joan, nephews Lee, Terry and Larry and many cousins. It provides comfort believing that Sonja has now been reunited with those loved ones who have gone before her: her parents, Jack and Elsie Melanchuk, mother and father-in-law Michael and Cecilia Duke, brother- and sister-in-law Leo and Adela Fitzpatrick.
Sonja, the world is now a little dimmer and heaven is now a little brighter. We miss you dearly. Your family and friends miss your company, your laugh, your kindness, your support, your comfort in times of need, your love. We believe you are now in Heaven, challenging God to a good game of crib or mahjong. We will try to live our lives the way you lived in hope that we can all share some stories and laughs with you again ...in His presence.
A special thank you to the ALS Clinic, the ALS Society, the Palliative Home Care team, especially Anna and granddaughter Samantha; without your helping hands, Sonja’s wish to remain at home would not have been possible. A big thanks also to Fr. Colin O’Rourke, pastor of St. Bonaventure Roman Catholic Parish, for your guidance and comfort in her final days.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Sonja's memory to the ALS Society of Alberta.
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ALS Society Of Alberta
5418 97 St NW, Edmonton AB T6E 5C1