Sona Lynn Manuelian, 68, of Maywood, New Jersey, passed away on the morning of Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. With fresh snow sprinkled on the ground outside, it was an idyllic setting during her favorite holiday season. She spent her last moments surrounded by family.
Sona was born on August 23, 1953 and raised in New Milford and Maywood, NJ. After graduating from Hackensack High School in 1971, she attended nursing school at Bergen Pines Medical Center. She then went on to work as a licensed practical nurse which began a life of service and charity work.
During an Armenian Students Association (ASA) ski trip, she met Leo, and they wed on September 23, 1979. Together they had two beautiful daughters, Ani and Lori, and later, four grandchildren.
Sona was active volunteer in the Armenian American community. As a child, she attended Camp Haiastan and was a member of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, NJ. She chaired the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) “Arsen” Chapter and participated in AYF Olympic events, winning medals for swimming. She enjoyed outdoor activities like canoeing, white water rafting, water skiing and, in particular, downhill skiing. Sona was a dedicated member of the Daughters of Vartan, where she rose to the level of Matron of her Lodge (Sahaganoush) and eventually national Grand Matron. Since 2003, Sona and husband Leo traveled to Armenia each summer with the Fuller Center for Housing, helping to build simple, decent homes for families in need. She was a proud member of St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, NJ, where she loved participating in annual church events and traditions.
Sona was involved in many cultural events, activities and organizations throughout her life. She and her husband participated in the St. Francis Players and Incognito theatre groups. Sona performed in many plays and shared warm memories with a close-knit group of friends. She loved the holidays. Every year, her home shone brightly with colorful lights inside and out and was featured on Channel 12’s Bergen County Holiday Edition. In her spare time, she mentored individuals struggling with alcoholism.
Sona was predeceased by her parents Lucie and Edward Baroutjian. She is survived by her husband Leo, daughters Ani and Lori, their husbands Brian and Douglas, grandchildren Clare (age 4), Dean (age 2), Harley (age 2), and Jackson (10 months) and extended members of the Manuelian, Varjian, Donofrio, Lewin, Hagopian, Thompson, Javizian, Asadourian and Kourtjian families.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, December 29th at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the William Basralian Funeral Home (559 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649). Funeral services will be conducted on Thursday, December 30th at 10:30 am at St. Leon Armenian Church (12-61 Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410). Interment will follow at George Washington Memorial Park (234 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Fuller Center for Housing, P.O. Box 523, Americus, GA 31709-0523 (please write “Armenia” on the memo line).
She was such a loving, giving person, and such a stalwart supporter of causes that help end human suffering. Her dedication to The Fuller Center for Housing was unsurpassed, and she will be missed tremendously.