Sonia Esther Abitbol|
January 25, 1919 - August 29, 2013
Resident of Soquel
Sonia Esther Abitbol passed away peacefully on Thursday morning August 29, 2013 in her home in Soquel, CA, at the age of 94. She was born in Morocco on January 25, 1919, in what was the fortified and strategic ancient port city of Mogador, dating back to the Phoenicians and called Essarouia today. It was an ideal community, a renowned stronghold of tolerance populated by citizens of three great faiths of the world, Moslems, Jews, and Christians who for generations peacefully shared the best of their cultures side by side. Sonia was born Addi and grew up with several languages spoken simultaneously around her at home as in her native town; French, Italian, Arabic, English, and Spanish. Her parents were Ferida Lumbroso Addi from Mogador and Felix Addi from Sphax, Tunisia.
Sonia was an excellent academic student and very athletic. She loved sports, played soccer, volleyball, and tennis with her younger brother Paul and their friends, and was always a great swimmer. She also studied ballet. Her love of dance was a lifelong passion and she played the piano as well. Music was all around her as she grew up, a heritage from both her loving parents whom she adored and respected. Throughout her childhood and as a young adult, she was a devoted daughter to an often ailing mother.
It was in Casablanca at the age of eighteen that she met, fell in love, and after a four year engagement married Samuel Abitbol, also born in Morocco in the ancient walled city of Fez. Their first child Danielle (today of Los Angeles) was born in Casablanca. They soon thereafter traveled to Port au Prince, Haiti, where they settled and had their second child Faye. After the war they returned to Casablanca where their third child, Robert was born. In 1950 the family traveled to Florence, Italy, where they settled for a few years, and where their fourth child Laurence came into the world. They returned to Casablanca in 1953 where their last child Alan (of Surfer's Paradise, Australia) was born the following year. As the political situation changed in Morocco, they emigrated one last time to the United states in 1958 where they continued to raise their family in Los Angeles, Cal. with all the trials, joys, and opportunities that emigration brought.
For years, Sonia was a working mom in skin care while supporting her husband with all the social and practical necessities that his work entailed while raising a family as well. She retired at the customary age. Her energy, natural exuberance, grace, charm, and beauty, colored everything that surrounded her. At the age of seventy-two, as she tired of city life, she went ahead of her husband and moved to Santa Cruz where her children Faye and Larry lived. She became a member of the Temple Beth El in Aptos where she studied Hebrew and held her formal religious confirmation, her Bat Mitzvah, at the age of seventy-four. She also learned to drive very successfully for the first time in her life as she found new horizons by the ocean just as in the port city of her birth. Sonia was a person of great faith, positive, gregarious, encouraging, unafraid, adventurous at heart, sometimes daring, inquisitive, open-minded, generous, and compassionate. She had great love and respect for all people. She loved to laugh, and was always a great deal of fun and a delight to be with! She was widowed from her beloved husband Samuel in 2002. Her last years with all the trials of aging, never losing her essence and her love of life, surrounded by all the things that gave her pleasure - family, close friends, spiritual and cultural sustenance, avid reading, her home, her flowers, her pets, the view of the ocean beyond- she said were some of the best years of her life. She loved Santa Cruz!
Besides her five children, she will also be survived by her beloved and devoted sister Gladys and her husband Paul of Santa Cruz, nine grandchildren, ten great-grand children, and the mother/daughter team of Aurie and Keyla Marroquin, her devoted and loving friends, her companion-caregivers. Her family will miss her sorely, yet she will remain with them with great love, beautiful memories, and music in their hearts. She was buried in a beautiful redwood and eucalyptus grove at the Home of Peace cemetery in Santa Cruz, next to her husband Samuel. God and heaven bless her, as we do. Her memory will be cherished, and her indomitable spirit and love of life a continued inspiration.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sept. 13, 2013