Sonia grew up in Minsk, Russia, her teen years abruptly cut short by the eruption of a war that would destroy most of her family and friends, and catapult her into a harrowing struggle to survive. And survive she did, fleeing from village to village with her family, finding work of any kind wherever they found refuge, traversing the unforgiving Ural Mountain ranges to escape the relentless Nazi rampage. In spite of her youth and the terror that plagued her daily, Sonia mustered forth a reservoir of courage and fortitude that enabled her to participate proactively in the survival of her parents and siblings during their four-year flight by bike, train and foot. She committed herself to long hours of arduous labor wherever and whenever she could find work that would feed her family and keep their morale up. When the war finally ended, she met her beloved Jacob Maron, who had lost his wife and young children to the Nazi slaughter. Jacob Maron had fought valiantly in the underground Polish militia in spite of his having been severely wounded eight times. After escaping death at the hands of the Nazis and subsequently at the hands of the Soviets during their post-war campaign of annihilating officers of the Polish underground army, Jacob Maron fled with Sonia to the Allied Sector of Germany, eventually gaining entry into the United States. There, they settled in New York for a brief while before starting a farm in rural New Jersey.
Working at her husband’s side in Flemington, New Jersey, with no less vigor and commitment than she had demonstrated during her years of struggle for survival during the war, Sonia helped her husband build a successful farming venture while raising four children, in spite of severely debilitating health issues which beset her from the trauma of the war, and in spite of Jacob’s having to work long hours away from home to support the family. When her husband grew very ill toward the last several years of his life, Sonia insisted on caring for her bed-ridden husband personally at home, tending to him day and night, paying little attention to her own deteriorating health, and doting instead on her beloved Jacob until the day he passed. She survived him for five years, during which her own health deteriorated further, requiring tri-weekly dialysis. Yet, through it all, Sonia remained a mountain of strength and practical wisdom for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, holding her pain with a quality of joy and positivity that was contagious as it was inspirational.
On the Holy Shabbat of July 27, only four days before the anniversary of the passing of her husband, Sonia left this realm to join her beloved Jacob and reunite with her birth family, of which she had been the sole living survivor. The funeral took place with honors on Monday, July 29, 2013, at the Congregation Bnai Israel Cemetery in Toms River, New Jersey. She was honored by many as her grandchildren carried her to be buried beside her husband. Among those who came to honor this remarkable woman was 95-year-old Rabbi Menashe Zvi Winkler, the last living disciple of the famed Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, more popularly known as the Chofetz Chaim. Rabbi Winkler surprised all who were gathered when, in spite of his fragility and age, he picked up one of the shovels and participated in the sacred ritual of burial. “She was a very cho’shuva (precious) woman,” he explained.
Sonia Maron is survived by Rabbi Dr. Miriam Maron, an internationally-renowned author, spiritual healer and workshop teacher residing in Thousand Oaks, CA; Dr. Myron Maron, a physician residing in Petersham, MA; Dr. Ed Maron, a physician residing in Clinton, NJ; and Trudy Hawk, an internationally-renowned teacher/performer, residing in Rowland Heights CA. Sonia Maron also leaves a legacy of nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.