Sonja Pauline Gilich Harkey

Sonja Pauline Gilich Harkey passed peacefully into heaven on October 5, 2017 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Mrs. Harkey was born in Gig Harbor, Washington on July 20, 1929 to Anton & Vinka Gilich. Sonja was working in Seattle when she met Ken Harkey, a former Army Sargent working at Nike Missile Base and later at Boeing. They married November 24, 1956 and had their first son Kenneth Jr. in Seattle. Shortly after Kenny was born, Ken Sr. moved the family back to his hometown of Flagstaff. While living in “Cottage City” on the campus of NAU, Sonja had their second son, John. Sonja happily stayed home to raise the boys until both were in elementary school when she went to NAU. She graduated with both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Sonja taught second grade for many years at Mt. Elden/Killip School and was known for knitting each one of her students a pair of slippers at Christmas. 

Sonja was an excellent cook. Treats like Rotten Cookies (irresistible oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) and Slakē Kruv (Yugoslavian Sweet Bread, made from a recipe passed down by her mother from Yugoslavia) were some of the family favorites. She also loved to travel. Some of her favorite trips were during the school year when she and Ken would drive down to San Carlos, Mexico with the boys in the family pick-up camper. She also enjoyed family summers in Gig Harbor spending time with her mother and brother, John Gilich. She loved the sound and smell of the ocean. After retirement, Sonja and Ken split their time between Gig Harbor and Lake Montezuma, Arizona.

Sonja loved her family and believed they were the most important thing in life. She was delighted when Kenny and his wife Toni had two children and loved spending time with them. As the grandkids grew older Sonja was so proud of Lindsey for graduating from the University of Arizona and Christopher for enlisting in the Marines. She loved boxing up Rotten Cookies to send off to Christopher in Iraq to share with his friends and have a little taste of home. Sonja was a great card player and loved to play Hearts or roll some dice with Yahtzee. Sonja enjoyed hot cocoa in the winter with a little Baileys and loved to split a beer on occasion with her good friend Patsy McCullough, toasting everything in life.

Sonja was preceded in death by her husband Ken and her parents. She leaves behind her sons Kenny

(Toni) and John (Karen), as well as grandchildren Christopher (Erin) and Lindsey Shelp (Garrett), all of

Flagstaff. She also leaves her brother John Gilich of Gig Harbor.

 A 9:00 a.m. Mass will be held in her honor at St Nicholas Catholic Church on January 18, 2018 in Gig

Harbor, Washington. A celebration of life will be held at the home of Kenny & Toni Harkey, 2330 E.

Forest Heights Dr., on November 11th at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity in remembrance of Sonja.

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