Remembering Jon Sonoda's Aloha Spirit: 1963-2017
In Hawaiian culture "Aloha" means more than hello and goodbye. Aloha is the island way of life based on love, compassion and friendship.
ICHS pharmacy manager Jon Sonoda passed away on Dec. 23, leaving family, friends, co-workers and patients saddened by the loss of his warm Aloha spirit. At ICHS, Jon led the health center's three service pharmacies at ICHS's Chinatown, Shoreline and Holly Park locations, pharmacy education, and pharmacy services at ACRS and Seattle World School.
Jon had a lot of plans to improve services to ICHS patients. He was the cheerleader, with always an upbeat word for others. While he felt embarrassed about any spotlight, he enjoyed it and always gave credit to his pharmacy team. He was extremely proud and protective of them and believed that his team was capable of anything. According to Crystal Tsui, clinical pharmacist II at the ID Clinic, he truly cared about and believed in others, her rock if she ever felt self-doubt, someone who shared wisdom and life on topics as varied and random as financial management, marriage, his trips to Italy and home cooking.
"From the moment I arrived at ICHS, he welcomed me," said Randon Aea, behavioral health manager, who was also born and raised in Hawaii. Randon describes how, as a Seattle transplant far from home, Jon and his wife Zoe would invite him for Thanksgiving. Randon has happy memories of sitting in Jon's kitchen, eating Zoe's pumpkin pie, "You felt the love you would get in a Hawaiian home."
Jon's love had no boundaries. Work or home, Jon's generous nature was to reach out to and support whoever needed it, however they might need it.
Foundation director Ron Chew said Jon's generosity extended into the realm of charitable giving. "During our year-end fundraising campaign, he would come by my office and say, 'Ron, give me a form. Who should I made a check out to?' I never even had to ask. That's the kind of person he was."
"He always had my back," said Randon.
Feeling Jon would not want anyone to go without a prescription in the busy post-holiday season, his staff chose to honor his memory by keeping regular pharmacy hours in the immediate wake of his passing. Jon drilled "Jon's Doctrine" into his team, asking them to always act in the best interest of the patient, work to improve patient care and to treat patients like family, adding, "No one wants their grandmother without drugs."
Helen Louie, pharmacy supervisor at the ID Clinic, further remembers Jon's mentoring and advice, "Jon always shared his life lessons with all of us. An important one is achieving a good work-life balance. He always said that each of us wears many hats, as health care workers, as sons or daughters, as mothers or fathers, as friends, as coworkers, and how important it is to maintain a healthy balance to be able to manage all aspects of our lives. He truly cared about the well-being of those around him."
Ngog-Diep Pham, clinical pharmacist I at the ID Clinic, recalled Jon's emphasis on family and a balanced life as he told her, "Money is not all in life, we both know that. Being happy and living life is golden."
"Jon always made it a point to remind us to put our families first. Many times he would end his emails with, 'Take care of your family,'" said Katy Hulten, clinical pharmacist II at the Holly Park Clinic. "This extended to his own family. There was no doubt that Jon was extremely proud and deeply loved his wife Zoe and dog Bodhi. He once said to me, 'Best to brag about my wife for comparison.'"
Jon's positive outlook, his passion for the ICHS vision and mission, and his service to others will be carried forward by all who knew him.
Jon's Celebration of Life will be at the Wing Luke Museum, Jan 27, from 11 am - 3 pm. All are welcome. Zoe Sonoda has asked that charitable donations in Jon's memory go to the ICHS Foundation. Please visit https://www.ichs.com/memory-jon-sonoda/ for instructions on how to designate a gift in Jon's name.
Seattle Celebration of Life
Saturday, January 27, 2018
1100am- 1130am Visitation
1230pm-200pm Food and Fellowship
Wing Luke Museum
719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
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