Sonja (Hanson) Elend ’65

11 June 2015

Class: 1965

Major: English

Residence: Shoreline, WA

Deceased: July 5, 2014

Sonja Maria Elend, known also as “Raveness”January 30, 1943-July 5, 2014Born in Charles City, Iowa to John and Georgia (McQuiston) Hanson.Resided in Bloomington, Minnesota, Seattle Washington and, since1989, in Irondale, Washington.Died July 5, 2014 at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, of respiratory failure.Sonja is survived by her daughter Ieva Ohaks (from her first marriage to Uldis Ohaks), stepdaughter Alexis (Elend) Ziegler and her husband John; stepson Mitchell Elend, his wife Pam (Kelley) Elend and daughters Sophia and Hallie. Also sister Lee Brower, and her daughter Shana and son Jason; brother Tim Hanson; brother Tom Hanson, his wife Alice, and daughters Deja and Satori.Sonja’s husband Raymond Elend passed away in 2003.She lived most of her life poor in cash, but wealthy in intellect, imagination, tenacity, and humor.  She was happiest when sharing those gifts with anyone near her.She was born in Charles City, Iowa, and resided in Bloomington, Minnesota, Seattle Washington, and Irondale Washington.  She attended Carleton College in Minnesota with a National Merit Scholarship, taking a degree in English. She discovered a love of the written word and continued to use this aptitude in unexpected ways throughout her life.After college, she worked in a specialty bookbindery, where her meticulous technique was put to good use.  She enjoyed nature through climbing, hiking, and cave exploration.  She wrote songs, poems, and plays.  Also, immediately after graduating college, she married Uldis Ohaks.In 1969, Sonja, with her husband and baby daughter, moved to Seattle. 1975 brought divorce and a re-blending of family, adding a new partner, a stepdaughter and a stepson.For 23 years Sonja worked a small commercial fishing vessel with her second husband, Raymond. They caught salmon and halibut in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska in the summer months, returning to their children each autumn.  Sonja was known for careful handling and cleaning of fish, producing the best quality.  She thrived on the physical work and the connection to the natural world.  She earned the respect of the fishing fleet for her skillful, intuitive maneuvering of the boat to find the most generous schools of fish.During these years she also deployed her English skills in writing political and marketing materials in support of the fishery.She began her recovery from alcoholism in 1980, and her recovery process and community was an important part of her life from that point on.In the 1990’s Sonja retired from fishing, and volunteered for the local chapters of the American Association of University Women and the WSU Extension Water Watchers program, using her writing and artistic skills to produce displays and educational materials.Throughout Sonja’s life, she was always able to wrestle extraordinary products out of the barest of materials.  She excelled at creating elaborate displays and collages using reclaimed and recycled materials. She always enjoyed cooking on a spectacular scale, not only meals for family and provisions for her fishing season, but also elegant glazed salmon and fruit salad sculptures for parties and potlucks.In recent years, health challenges and widowhood prompted her to simplify her life and focus on her writing, and she has been an avid participant in the poetry and literary community of the Port Townsend area, under the pen name Raveness.She will be remembered for her creativity, intelligence, eccentricity, and generosity.Friends and family celebrated her life with an informal potluck and open-mike poetry reading in early August.In keeping with Sonja’s wishes, her ashes were blended with those of her late husband Raymond.  Her stepson Mitchell, an oceanographer, released them at sea during a research voyage.  He wrote of the event:”I released Ray and Sonie’s ashes today at noon during the transit out from Newport. We were about 20 nautical miles off the coast, just west of Stonewall Bank. It was cool with a thin gray overcast and a little foggy. Wind was out of the south-southwest, 5 knots. It was a great day for fishing; in fact I saw three fishing boats nearby. A little later, I saw a whale, a dog fish and a “mola mola,” which is a strange looking flat fish. I also saw two fish jump out of the water, which may have been salmon. The waters out here are teeming with life.”

Ieva OhaksDaughter of Sonja

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