Rachel Motherwell Sonta (nee Dolan), 92, passed away on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 following a brief stay in the hospital. Rae rejoins her loving husband of 72 years, Louis Gerard Sonta and is survived by her sons David and Timothy, his wife Elaine; her 3 granddaughters Noel, her husband Allan, Rebecca, her husband Josey, and Samantha; her great-grandson Dylan and many nieces and nephews.
Rae, the daughter of two Scottish immigrants, George and Jean (nee Murray) Dolan, was born in Jersey City and raised in Lyndhurst with her brother, George and sister, Jean. At a young age, Rae was diagnosed with an “enlarged heart”, which doctors recommended bed rest and limited excitement. Despite those recommendations, Rae’s father decided that exercise and activity where the key to recovery, and introduced her to a life of exceptional athleticism. Rae excelled in bowling, swimming, and golf.
Rae met her husband Lou, while working at Becton-Dickinson in East Rutherford, NJ. She often joked that she married Lou because “his last name sounded like Sinatra”, and “that was the closest she would get” to her favorite entertainer, Frank. Devoted to one another, Lou and Rae did everything together. They enjoyed spending their winter in Stuart Florida, in their Riverbend, Indian River Plantation condo. Lou and Rae annually hosted the “social event of the season”, making individual home-made pizzas and inviting their friends and neighbors to design the best pie by adding toppings. To officially commence the Sonta-family Christmas season, Lou and Rae would take their granddaughters to The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, to see their production of the Nutcracker, introducing a sense of magic into the season.
Famous for setting up the annual Riverbend Christmas Tree, Rae actively beautified her environment. She was known for constantly crafting, cross-stitching, and in her later years, coloring elaborated works of art for her friends and family. She also graciously passed her talents, patiently teaching her young granddaughters the art of sewing. An accomplished cook, Rae loved to experiment in the kitchen with new recipes, whether they were successful or not.
Rae spent her leisure time avidly reading and watching golf and enjoyed vacations to California with Lou and their friends Ed Gorman and his wife Pat. She would wait all year to be able to spend summers on her screened in porch in Lavallette, listening to Frank Sinatra and other Big Band music, peppered with the faint sound of the lagoon lapping against the bulkhead and the clinking sound of the flag pole as the American, Italian, and Scottish flags flapped in the wind.
Rae spent her last years surrounded by family. At this time, in lieu of a service, we invite you to view and share photos of Rae at https://photos.app.goo.gl/wiZD1rgVAdEcf3Gd8 . Memorial of Rae and Lou to follow.