In Memory of Sonja Chantal Heikkila-Zsebe
It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sonja (nee Wischniwsky) on November 23, 2021 at the age of 62. She passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family.
Beloved wife of Laszlo Zsebe. She was the daughter of the late Roman and Elfriede; sister of the late Roman; predeceased by her late husband Arthur Heikkila; loving mother to Stephanie (Andrew), Roman (Katie); beloved stepmother to Tamas (Thao), George (Cynthia); loving sister to Heidrun; loving grandmother “Zazzy“ to Astrid, as well as her extended family and friends.
Sonja was a kind and generous person, spreading happiness to everyone she met. She had a positive outlook on life and brought joy to everyone around her. She was a dedicated and loving wife, mother, stepmother, sister, grandmother “Zazzy”, aunt and friend. Sonja loved to sing and cook. She was an amazing cook and always laughing, often making 4 or 5 La-Sonja’s (as her family referred to Lasagna) at a time, just to give them away to friends and family. When you couldn’t hear her laughter she was probably reading something, gone shopping or just gone on a long walk, especially with her treasured Astrid.
After the early passing of her beloved late husband Art, Sonja met another great love, her amazing second husband, Laszlo Zsebe. A true whirlwind romance, they travelled together living their best life. Not one to let a pandemic interrupt love, Sonja married Laszlo in May 2020 at home with her family and friends celebrating along with them online from Ottawa, Montreal, Saint John, Washington and Hungary.
Always a dedicated student, she excelled academically and graduated from Ryerson University at 21 as a Mechanical Engineering Technologist, then received her P.Eng. She was a trailblazer and after receiving her CET designation was elected as the first female president of O.A.C.E.T.T. (Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists).
Sonja had an illustrious career in the federal public service of Canada travelling and making lifetime friends along the way, beginning on the CAP program with positions as an extreme weather test engineer in Kapuskasing ON and then a flight inspection engineer with Transport Canada. She was the Y2k project director at Health Canada; Director Border security during 9/11; Director Management Policy Development; Director General Emergency Preparedness; Director General, Canada 2010 Olympic Coordination; Director General, Information Management; Director General Strategic Business Initiatives and the Regional Director Professional and Technical Services.
Never missing an opportunity to give back, Sonja volunteered for many years as a girl guide leader, often cooking at the camps, where she made many lifelong friends. She was also a member and the provincial director on the national finance committee for the Girl Guides of Canada. Later she received a medal of honour from the Queen Mother for her Service. When not cooking for the girl guides, Sonja was home with her family, cooking epic meals and enjoying family time, and good times with her friends.
A celebration of life will take place at Heritage Funeral Complex, 1250 Trim Rd., Orléans, on December 2, 2021 with visitation starting at 9 am. A ceremony will follow at 11 am with a reception afterwards.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. Condolences may be addressed at www.heritage.ca