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Apr 29, 2008

Sonja Kramers -- In Memoriam


Sad news for people and dogs.  My friend Sonja Kramers died unexpectedly last weekend in Asheville.

Only the week before, she'd celebrated the 2nd birthday of her Happy Tails Country Club for Dogs.

Sonja and I grew up together in Asheville, as churchmates, schoolmates and family friends. In fact, it was thirty years ago this month that we walked down the aisle as flower girl and ring bearer at my aunt and uncle's wedding.  A photo of the two of us from that day hung on our family pictures wall for many years until we moved, and it was always fun to see Sonja as one of our only "Anglo" kin on display.

I'll try to write more about Sonja and her folks soon.  The four of them were like a second family to me, and they gave me many gifts of fun, experience and perspective that shaped my life more than I probably realize.

But for now I'll tell you this about Sonja's good example: if more people quit their corporate jobs that they didn't truly love and followed their dreams to open a successful cage-free dog kennel (or whatever else they'd really like to do), the world would be a much better place.  Sonja took a big risk to do something she believed in and was passionate about -- and something great happened as a result.

Link to Sonja Kramers article in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Link to Obituary and Guest Book at Groce Funeral Home.

Link to A Short List of Virtues -- thoughts on Sonja's way of living.

Services and additional information from Groce Funeral Home : Funeral Saturday, May 3, 11 a.m., St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Arden; interment 2 p.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville. A second celebration of her life is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Sunday at her business, Happy Tails Country Club on Cane Creek Road.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Sonja Kramers Fund to benefit Young Life, c/o Matt Sloan, 199-A Elkwood Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804.


photo: Citizen-Times

11:33 AM in News | Permalink


Phil, I'm so sorry for your loss of a good friend.

Posted by: Valerie | Apr 29, 2008 12:00:50 PM

I heard about this a few days ago and still can't quite believe it. Sonja was in my class, and although I wasn't one of her close friends, I remember her as a great person. Same goes for Dom.

I probably hadn't talked to her in over 20 years. I wish I had, because I have a lot of admiration for somebody who can uproot her life and follow her dream, as she did.

Phil, I'm so, so sorry for your -- and the Kramers family's, and all of Sonja's friends' -- loss.

Posted by: Jerry | Apr 29, 2008 2:20:41 PM

So very sad. My condolences, Phil.

Posted by: Fikri | Apr 29, 2008 2:42:27 PM

Philcito, I am so so sorry, dear. Hang tough. xxoo

Posted by: stew | Apr 29, 2008 3:31:05 PM

As a dog person, I feel an affinity toward Sonja without even knowing her. How very sad.

Posted by: Lisa B | Apr 30, 2008 12:59:38 PM

My heart aches without having known of Sonja until now. This must be crushing for you and so many others. So sorry this happened; glad you've shared this.

Posted by: Toastie | Apr 30, 2008 3:30:35 PM

Phil, I am so sorry for your loss. I checked out your friend's web site and saw the pictures. Anyone who would conceive of a place where a dog can have a little bed and rug of his very own is clearly a kindred spirit.

I'll be thinking of you.

Posted by: Lisa | Apr 30, 2008 11:09:48 PM

Terribly sorry to read about the loss of your friend. My condolences to you, and her entire circle of family and friends.

Posted by: Durham Bull Pen | May 1, 2008 10:36:38 PM

Condolences on the passing of your friend, Phil.

Posted by: Doc | May 14, 2008 12:53:27 AM

I just heard about this last week and am, of course, saddened. I knew Sonja quite well at UNC and she was one of those people who was ALWAYS an improvement to my day. I took her to my fraternity formal her Senior year and we had the BEST time. The reason I took her? I wanted to take someone who could maturely handle a weekend away without her worrying that she was going to be gorilla-attacked by her date, and wouldn't worry her date that she was expecting some crazy twisted idea of fun. She was just one of the best people I ever met, and the world is a bit emptier now without her. :(

Posted by: Dana | Jun 27, 2008 11:26:12 PM