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Obituary: Sonja Thiene

Sonja Thiene

1923-2012

 

The life of Sonja Thiene was recently celebrated at The Sea Ranch in Northern California. Thiene was a Laguna Beach resident and high school administrative assistant for many years.

Born Sonja Navall in Alberta, Canada, she and her family immigrated to the U.S. where her father took a teaching position at Antioch College in Ohio. While Sonja was still a child, the family moved to Alta Dena, Calif., and lived in a house surrounded by sunny orange groves while her parents both taught at nearby colleges. When she was 18, Sonja’s free spirit lead her to New York City where she professionally skated with the Ice Capades for two years. She returned to California and graduated with a teaching degree from one of the Claremont Colleges. In 1946 she married Paul Thiene, a research physicist. They started their lives together in Pasadena but soon moved to Laguna Beach to raise a family.

In retirement, the couple moved to Carmel and finally The Sea Ranch. As a mother of three daughters, Thiene worked for the Laguna school district, primarily as an administrative assistant to school principals, to be close to her children. She was a nurturing and giving mother and cared deeply for the welfare and happiness of her family.

After 58 years together Paul died in 2004 after a two-year battle with cancer through which Sonja personally cared for him at home, a testament to her unfailing giving and nurturing nature.

About two years later, her life started a wonderful new chapter when she met Randy Owings. Together they travelled the world and spent happy times at The Sea Ranch.

Throughout her years, Thiene was open to life, loving her family and friends. She also loved being near the ocean and had a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature. She enjoyed interacting with others and was active as a member of the PTA in Laguna, and as a volunteer at a hospital in Carmel and then at Point Arena Light Station and Blue Dolphin Gallery in Gualala while living at The Sea Ranch.

Through all of her life, Thiene’s spirit shone brightly and was filled with spunk, humor, intelligence, open-mindedness, curiosity, kindness, sensitivity, optimism and an incredible capacity to give love. She was always open to that next adventure! She was a beautiful woman who made the world a better place. She will be profoundly missed by all who had the privilege of loving her.

Thiene is survived by her daughters Pamela Thiene and Kristin Thiene; son-in-law Curt Johnson, Maya Redwitz and son-in-law Tom Redwitz; grandson Garret Tesman, granddaughter Natalie Redwitz; and sisters Gundula Simpson and Maya MacKenzie; and Leia, her cat.

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