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Memorial for Sonia Loir

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Graveside: 2:00 PM Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
Hills of Eternity Memorial Park
1301 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014
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March 4, 1927- January 25, 2020

Sonia Loir, RN and Nurse/Midwife, was born in New York City to Thanna Leav Loir and Emile Loir. Predeceased by parents and siblings Maurice Loir and Germaine Loir Cattani, and many beloved cousins. Survived by cousins Renee Bloom, Bertram (and his wife Anne) Raphael, David Leav, and Maurice’s children Emile, Rachelle, Paula and Claudia Loir. Burial at Hills of Eternity in Colma by Sinai Memorial January 28. Contributions in lieu of flowers welcome at San Francisco Senior Center at Aquatic Park.

Sonia became a Navy Nurse Cadet at the end of WW II and received her diploma in Nursing in 1947 from the Long Island College Hospital. She was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy until 1950. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Arts degree majoring in public health from New York University. Sonia worked as a nurse in many fields in Brooklyn at the Long Island College Hospital.

She was the first in her family to learn to drive, and in 1954 she drove alone over the new unpaved Alaska Highway to her first post in Fairbanks, before Alaska was a state. Her first meal there was bear stew. From Fairbanks she went by dogsled or with bush pilots to Inuit villages to deliver babies. She returned to Columbia University in 1958 as an instructor, then moved to Arizona as an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University in Tempe. There she went on horseback and ATV to help Navajo mothers on the reservation, and she learned to love spicy Southwestern food. She helped start the nurse-midwife program at the University of Arizona at Tempe and ran a large Perinatal Mortality study there.

Sonia still felt like a New Yorker, and she returned there in 1969 to set up a program in Nurse-Midwifery at the Downstate University of the State of New York But in 1972 she returned to the US Public Health Service in San Francisco, as a consultant in Maternal and Child Health, where her territory covered all the western states and all the Pacific island outposts where the USPHS had stations. Air Micronesia took her to tiny islands where Spam and rice were the primary diet.

She bought a house in San Francisco, where she lived and cared for her widowed mother Thanna until she died at 94. They both doted on a tiny black teacup poodle named “Gigi.” Sonia rode her bicycle all over San Francisco and made friends everywhere. Through all her travels she kept in touch with family members, and she even went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she met third cousins descended from the sister of her grandmother and the brother of her grandfather, who had gone from Odessa to Argentina instead of New York in the early days of the 1900’s.

When she retired and was diagnosed with both Parkinson’s and macular degeneration with glaucoma, she moved into senior housing in San Francisco, and later to Palo Alto to Moldaw Residence. There she loved to play Bingo and regularly won at trivia contests. Even without much vision she loved to watch sports and Jeopardy on TV. She lived a full life with enthusiasm, courage and a sense of humor, and she will be missed by many.