Sonja Meyer Obituary, Death – On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, Sonja (Meyer) Hilding passed away quietly in her sleep after a long and happy life. Sonja’s childhood was filled with excitement from the day she was born on July 26, 1930 in the Swiss municipality of Kreutzlingen, which is located on the border with Germany. When she was young, her family relocated to St. Gallen in the interior of Switzerland because of the growing threat posed by World War II. From that vantage point in the hillside park next to her house, Sonja was able to literally observe the conflict. She did an impression of the paratroopers when she was younger by jumping out of a tree while wearing her mother’s nice linens. She was a teenager when she sought to demonstrate her horseback riding talents to the American GIs who were stationed in Switzerland; however, the horse did not comply with her. Her favorite activities included downhill skiing, mountain climbing, tennis, and horseback riding. She tried her hand at waterskiing at one point, but she never bought a boat for the sport. She was an eternal optimist, so she would stand at the dock with her ski while she waited for kind people to pass by on their boats. Although she faced adversity throughout her life, including the death of her father in 1944, she chose to look at the bright side of things and focus on the good things that happened to her.
Following her graduation from high school in St. Gallen, she went to England with a friend in order to find work as a nanny in that country. Her English was able to improve as a result of her time spent there, and she had a great time travelling across the country. She also worked on a cork farm on the island of Sardinia, where she learned to drive on an airport runway, which explains why she has had bad driving skills throughout her entire life. At the age of 22, she uprooted her life and moved to the United States. There, she tried hamburgers for the first first time, and it was there that she discovered her love for doughnuts. She held a variety of jobs, including those of waitress at a ski resort, sales associate at Frederick & Nelson’s, and stewardess for an airline.
After arriving in Minneapolis, she had a meeting with David Hilding. Her trip ended there. They had their first date sailing on Lake Minnetonka in the month of April, and they ended up capsizing, which was the beginning of a lifelong adventure together.
On March 11, 1955, she and David became husband and wife. They compromised and decided to have five children even though the father did not want any children. The subsequent years were spent attempting to maintain some semblance of order among the youngsters. Since Mom was mostly responsible for our education, she made sure that we all learned how to swim, play tennis, ski, and play at least a few instruments, in addition to placing a heavy focus on ensuring that we received a decent formal education. She had five children running around the tennis courts while she was playing tennis in her leisure time. She completed her associate’s degree by attending school on a part-time basis over the course of several years. However, she did not attend her own commencement ceremony because she wanted to be there for one of her daughters’.
She and David had a wonderful time together over the years that they were together, and they took many trips. A sabbatical of one year’s duration spent in Sweden. Travel to places such as Japan, Yugoslavia, Nepal, China, the Ivory Coast, Egypt, Norway, and Peru, to mention a few.
She was fluent in seven different languages and had no trouble making friends with people from different parts of the world. She was extremely compassionate toward newcomers, especially those who were separated from their family and were having trouble communicating in the native tongue. Even after she was no longer able to travel, she continued to pay close attention to the travels of her family and friends. She never stopped educating herself, participating in two book clubs where she was required to read regularly, keeping up with her children’s and grandchildren’s lives in minute detail, and going to weekly lectures on current affairs. She couldn’t get enough of her iPad and iPhone, and her favorite things to do on both were google, text her grandchildren, and use FaceTime. Even when her mobility declined, she made the most of what she had, such as taking in the sights of the mountains even if she was unable to go hiking in them.