Sonja Viola Otilla Krave Stephens, 105, slipped away early Monday morning August 26, 2019. Sonja was born in Gotenborg, Sweden January 15, 1914 to Rhinehold and Calla Lilljestrom Krave. At the age of six she boarded a steamship and emigrated from Sweden with her family to the United States. They rode a train powered by steam locomotive across America and settled briefly in Idaho Falls before moving to Nampa. She graduated from Nampa High School in 1933. In 1937 Sonja married Jim Stephens in Nampa and moved to Vale, Oregon to farm with his parents. Later they purchased 80 acres of arid land north of Middleton, packed up and headed to their new farm. They took the land out of sagebrush and worked hard to build a beautiful and productive farm and dairy. Jim and Sonja were blessed with three children: J.D., Kathy and Wayne. Sonja was a lifelong learner and a tireless worker. She gardened until she was 104. At the age of 50 Sonja went back to school and earned a nursing degree in which she loved because it gave her an opportunity to care for others. She studied nature, birds, flowers, conservation, travel, human nature and history. She read books on a wide variety of subjects and listened to them in her later years as her sight diminished. She crocheted, knitted, quilted, carved, weaved, cooked, beaded and macrame'd. She picked, bottled and dehydrated fruit well into her late 90's. But the center of Sonja's life was her family. She loved each of them and was so proud of their individual accomplishments. She was interested in their families and their various jobs and how they were spending their time. She could have an intelligent conversation on any topic. Sonja is preceded in death by her husband, Jim Stephens of 60 years, parents Reinhold and Calla Krave, brothers Henry and Ivan, sisters Sonja and Vanja, stepson J.D. Stephens and son-in-law Joe Gannuscio. Sonja is survived by her daughter Kathy Gannuscio, son Wayne (Julia) Stephens of Middleton, daughter-in-law Pat Stephens of Nampa, 15 grandchildren, 39 great grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren. Her legacy lives on in each of them.
We want to offer sincere gratitude to the staff (who became friends) of The Cottages of Middleton for their respectful and tender care of Sonja and all her family. You went above and beyond any reasonable expectation we could have had. In addition, many thanks to the nurses and social workers from Horizon Home Health.