ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Sonia Stafko, 73 years old, born on February 22, 1948, and passed away on March 16, 2021. We will remember her forever.
Posted by Camille Solberg on April 4, 2021
My condolences go out to Ralph, Karen, Alan and your family for the loss of your beloved Sonia. I know that God will be with you through this difficult time. May the Good Lord bless you and keep you and give you inner peace as you face this trying time.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.“ John 11:25-26
Posted by Isa Pesquera on March 31, 2021
To Ralph, family, and friends, my deepest condolences...

Although I only met Sonia a couple of times during my aunt's family rosary group, she pulled my heartstrings if only for sharing my mother's name. But the sound of her voice was deep, and strong, and vivacious, and her smile contagious. Her presence moved me. Sonia shared with me a token she brought from Spain, and I love it. I thanked her, but more importantly, in this remembrance, I lay a flower for all of us who will travel this journey a bit longer, with her memory in our heart, and a longines for her friendship to carry on. May strength endure, as she rests in peace.
Posted by idalia Dominguez de Marty on March 31, 2021
Dear Ralf, Karen and Alan -

Our deepest sympathy to all of you, the rest of the family and her dear friends. She was a one of a kind friend, zestful, faithful, caring, funny and generous. She will be terribly missed in our group, "Las Rosarianas".

I would like to share my views of life with you all. Life for me is a stopping place, a resting place along the road to eternity. We all have different journeys with different paths and are meant to learn some things from each other to take to our final destination - eternity. This is a place greater than we know; for some the journey's is quicker than we would like, for others, the journey is slow. When the journey ends we'll claim a great reward, and find an everlasting peace together with Our Lord. I am sure Sonia is happy in Heaven enjoying the wonders of GOD. 

Posted by Gloria Socorro on March 31, 2021
I met Sonia at the Rosary Group (Rosarianas). At Christmas time we used to exchange gifts. Sonia surprised me one year, when she brought beautiful flower bulbs for everyone to be planted. I will always remembered her as a very happy, talkative person. Rest in peace. We will miss you at the rosaries.
Ginesa
Posted by Juan Rengel on March 30, 2021
My deepest sympathy to Ralph, Karen, Alan and the entire family during this extremely difficult time. This just doesn't seem like enough. I know how your grief must burden you, how this time must be so rough.

But try to believe in your heart of hearts, that your pain won't last forever,
that sadness will lighten a little each day, and you'll eventually feel much better.

When that day comes, your memories will focus on the good, not the bad.
Instead of feeling burdened by tears, you'll cherish the happy times you had.

It's hard to understand why God takes those we love. Does He need them more than we do, in Heaven up above?

No one on earth can pretend to know what's in God's plan. All we can do is take it on faith and trust we'll see our loved ones again.

I will miss you so much my dear Sonia. RIP my dear friend.
Posted by Ralph Stafko on March 26, 2021
Ralph’s Eulogy

Sonia’s death was sudden. So unexpected. So hard to accept. She was the most alive person I’ve ever known. She was the love of my life. I and the rest of the family miss her very much.

Sonia was her energetic, fun loving self right to the end. Our current stay in Puerto Rico began November 2019. Our plan was to spend the holidays with daughter Karen, and then to avoid cold weather until Spring. Our plan to return home to Virginia was canceled with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Fear of infection during travel kept us here in San Juan for 16 months, sheltered with Karen in our little apartment by the ocean, until we could be vaccinated. Earlier this month, we finally completed our vaccinations. We were contemplating our return home when Sonia was struck.

The evening of March 12 Sonia was in high spirits. She was preparing a late supper and joking with around with Karen and me when she had a sudden severe pain in her head, dizziness, and other symptoms of a stroke. We called 911 and they came quickly. I went with them to nearby Presbyterian Hospital. After a day and a half of testing and imaging, the doctors found a small hemorrhage in the cerebellum, one they thought she could recover from. That night, however, the small hemorrhage became a catastrophic hemorrhage. Sonia was pronounced brain dead on March 16 at 8:38 p.m., in the same hospital where she was born 73 years before.

Sonia often told me that when the time came, she wanted to be buried in Puerto Rico, preferably near her beloved parents, Emma and Arturo, in the National Cemetery in Bayamón. She insisted her bones would be much too cold up North and we needed to plan. I responded by avoiding the topic of funeral planning. Now, as she usually did, she has won the argument and got me to take action. I was able to get a plot for the two of us in that National cemetery, where she will be buried tomorrow. Her time came just too soon.

Sonia was a proud Puerto Rican. She loved her island. She was born and raised in San Juan. She graduated high school at Academia Sagrado Corazón in 1966, and University of Puerto Rico in 1970. She stayed in close contact with many of her friends from those years.

I met Sonia the Fall of 1970. She was a new graduate student studying Interior Design at Michigan State University. I had recently returned to East Lansing, home of my alma mater MSU, after release from the Navy. Some friends and I uhad rented a large house where we threw some great parties. At one, Sonia was the blind date of an old friend. We met at the party, talked quite a bit, and I called her the next day. We’ve been together ever since. 

Sonia was vivacious, a lot of fun, and in my view always the prettiest girl in the room. We were an example of opposites being attracted. Notably, she was an extrovert while I am an introvert. Karen read me a meme from the internet that captures our dynamic: why do quiet, laid back men fall for loud, fiery women? Because someone has to tell the waiter to take back the cold mashed potatoes.

We were married July 1, 1972, in the historic San Juan Cathedral. We spent the first few years of married life in the Detroit area where I was finishing law school and trying to get established as a young attorney, and Sonia worked as an Interior Designer.

In 1976 we moved to Northern Virginia for my new job in DC at the FDA. Sonia soon became busy with babies. Karen was born in 1976, and Alan in 1978. Sonia was passionate with her children. She was a caring, fiercely protective mother. A talented seamstress, she made many of her own clothes, and loved dressing the kids in her creations.

In 1981 we moved to a new house in a new neighborhood in Burke, Virginia, where over the past 40 years we’ve raised our children and made a good life. We’ve been blessed with great neighbors and many good friends.

Sonia had many interests. Notably, she developed a talent for gardening and landscaping. At the risk of of sounding immodest, our yard was the nicest around. Recently, she was deep into ancestry and building the ultimate family tree. And always, Sonia loved her dogs, from our little Shih Tzu, Bessie, who saw the kids grow up, to our trio of a Clumber Spaniels—Charlie Brown, Lucy and Sally, to her precious granddog Marianna, Karen’s service dog.

After the kids were in school full time, Sonia took a job with Fairfax County’s Department of Social Services. Her principal work was providing public assistance. She took great pride in her work. She had compassion for her clients, treating them with kindness and respect. However, the occasional fraudster invariably would be sniffed out and sent packing. She served the community well. She retired in 2012, with a view to spending more time gardening and traveling.

Sonia especially loved to travel. She liked the idea of the open road, the chance to see new places and meet new people. Also, of course, to visit family and old friends. In practice, her travel was weighted heavily toward the latter, with frequent trips back to Puerto Rico, where Karen had was staying, and to Spain, where Alan has settled with his lovely wife Leticia and Sonia’s beloved nietos.

Sonia could be feisty. She was always ready to rumble verbally with anyone foolish enough to cross her. A friend in Spain with a similarly strong-willed wife would joke that our wives were forces of nature—namely a huracán and a terremoto. Not sure which was which; Sonia could’ve been either.

Sonia had strong views. She was incensed by feckless and corrupt politicians, both in the States and in Puerto Rico. 2020 saw Puerto Ricans take to the streets protesting the various outrages of the governor. On a couple occasions Sonia responded to a call for protests by donning her walking shoes, grabbing her pot & spoon noise maker and her Puerto Rican flag, and happily joined the marchers in Old San Juan. Needless to say, the governor soon left office.

Sonia was a loyal and conscientious friend. If you were her friend, you were her friend for life. She was generous, and compassionate toward those in need. 

She was a daughter of the Catholic Church. She believed in a redemptive God, and the power of prayer, especially through the intercession of her favorite, the Virgin de la Providencia.

Please let your memories of Sonia not be filled with sadness. She was a person with a great joy for life. When, on occasion, something makes you smile, or laugh, think then of Sonia. If you do, know that Sonia will truly live on, not just in our memories but in our hearts. 

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Camille Solberg on April 4, 2021
My condolences go out to Ralph, Karen, Alan and your family for the loss of your beloved Sonia. I know that God will be with you through this difficult time. May the Good Lord bless you and keep you and give you inner peace as you face this trying time.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.“ John 11:25-26
Posted by Isa Pesquera on March 31, 2021
To Ralph, family, and friends, my deepest condolences...

Although I only met Sonia a couple of times during my aunt's family rosary group, she pulled my heartstrings if only for sharing my mother's name. But the sound of her voice was deep, and strong, and vivacious, and her smile contagious. Her presence moved me. Sonia shared with me a token she brought from Spain, and I love it. I thanked her, but more importantly, in this remembrance, I lay a flower for all of us who will travel this journey a bit longer, with her memory in our heart, and a longines for her friendship to carry on. May strength endure, as she rests in peace.
Posted by idalia Dominguez de Marty on March 31, 2021
Dear Ralf, Karen and Alan -

Our deepest sympathy to all of you, the rest of the family and her dear friends. She was a one of a kind friend, zestful, faithful, caring, funny and generous. She will be terribly missed in our group, "Las Rosarianas".

I would like to share my views of life with you all. Life for me is a stopping place, a resting place along the road to eternity. We all have different journeys with different paths and are meant to learn some things from each other to take to our final destination - eternity. This is a place greater than we know; for some the journey's is quicker than we would like, for others, the journey is slow. When the journey ends we'll claim a great reward, and find an everlasting peace together with Our Lord. I am sure Sonia is happy in Heaven enjoying the wonders of GOD. 

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