Sonda Christine Beal

BealSonda Christine Beal, 78, on August 14, 2022, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Sonda was born on January 14, 1944, in Phoenix, Ariz., to William Ware and Alice (née Daw) Ware.

Chris (as she was known then) was raised in Los Angeles, and other than going to the University of Arizona for graduate school, lived in California her entire life. She spent time in Japan as an exchange student, and returned with a great love for the country and its culture. For many years she taught English, emphasizing writing and thinking deeply.

Sonda became a Quaker by convincement on December 11, 1989, at Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting. She was part of a Friends’ women’s group, created to provide support and help build spiritual lives.

Sonda had one child, Cheryl Melinda Sedlacek, born in Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 20, 1969. On January 23, 1982, Sonda married James Avery in Albany, Calif.

From 1989 to 1996 Sonda wrote several book and pamphlet reviews as well as other articles for Western Friend (formerly Friends Bulletin). She wrote an article, “Knowing Oneself as Spirit,” describing her struggle being a Quaker.

She had been an active member in Berkeley Meeting until she moved to Santa Cruz around 2000. Shortly after relocating, she met Adyashanti, a teacher in the Eastern tradition. Thereafter, she ceased attending meeting for worship, wondering, “Am I really a Quaker?” Sonda didn’t drop her membership in the Society of Friends, deciding, “I won’t know if I am still a Quaker until I finish with this journey.”

Sonda attended law school in the 1990s, passing the bar exam without difficulty. Her keen intellect never failed her. Sonda practiced law in Santa Cruz, seeking resolutions to conflicts rather than “wins.” She was pleased when one of her clients stated that she had helped him forgive the other party.

During the COVID pandemic, Sonda often attended Berkeley Meeting virtually. She was an avid participant in the meeting’s poetry discussion group, and was remembered as kind, funny, friendly, intelligent, and insightful.

Sonda lived her life demonstrating love for others. She had a rare zest for life which didn’t fade despite numerous setbacks. She enjoyed friendly competition, making many friends over games of tennis and table tennis. She was an avid writer as well as a piano player. She loved the beach, where she had a passion for boogie boarding.

Sonda was a longtime member of the Shoreline Estates community in Santa Cruz.

She is survived by one child, Cheryl Sedlacek; and three grandchildren.

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