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Sonja Ann Iltis
Dec 14, 1954 - Aug 1, 2016
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Sonja Ann Iltis was set free from cancer on August 1, 2016, while in the presence

of her loving family at home. Her spirit is ultimately and supremely victorious and

is now in the presence of Jesus. Sonja was born December 14, 1954, and was adopted from a San Francisco baby nursery by her parents Sylvia and J. Stewart Bottema. She was raised in Palo

Alto and attended Green Gables Elementary, Valley Christian High School,

Foothill College, and Azusa Pacific University. Sonja married the love of her life, Michael Iltis, in July 1977, and they started a family in 1984. In 1986, they located to Turlock and made it their home ever since.

At the young age of 24, Sonja was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she was 38, she was diagnosed with another type of breast cancer. In 2010, at the age of 55, Sonja was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and experienced six recurrences over the past six years. However, through

it all, Sonja remained gracefully positive.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, she “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.” She was intentional about

serving and loving others in Jesus’ name, and is described by her friends as a “courageous, amazing warrior who left a living legacy.”

While Sonja lived with cancer for years, the disease did not control her zest for living. For the past two decades, she was an active advocate for the prevention and early detection of woman’s cancers, and volunteered her time to walk alongside other cancer patients on their journey. Sonja served as the volunteer Hospitality Team Leader at Emanuel Cancer Center, and was a founding member of Emanuel’s Women’s Cancer Awareness Night Out committee, which is now in its 19th year. In addition, she volunteered for Off Center Thrift Shop and Jessica’s House, a grief support program for children and their families. Sonja is survived by her compassionate and supportive husband, Michael, and their two beautiful and loving daughters, Britta Van Vliet (Bryan) and Mallory Bishchoff (Jeff), and her first grandson, Jack Bishchoff, who was born on May 1. Sonja was preceded in death by her parents, Sylvia and Stewart. 

Sonja’s Sendoff—a time for love, honor, and jubilation, will be held on Friday, August 12, at 10am at Pageo Lavender Farm, 11573 Golf Road in Turlock. The outdoor, casual gathering will be followed by a hosted brunch. In lieu of flowers, remembrances to Covenant Care Hospice of Turlock are suggested.

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