Sonia M. Walter, 52, of Salida died Jan. 5, 2020.
She was born April 12, 1967, the second youngest of five children, and grew up on a small farm in Beloit, Wisconsin.
She attended local schools and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which allowed her the opportunity to babysit her nephews while her sister attended chemotherapy. Her family said she was that way – she liked to help.
Ms. Walter had an adventurous spirit and a desire to be useful, which led her to serve in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Central African Republic for two years.
Eventually she discovered Colorado and made it her permanent home.
She met her partner, Steve O’Neill, and together they worked to help others become healthier and more balanced through their Pilates studio in Salida.
Her family said she was a natural encourager, who liked to get people moving, nudge them to set goals and celebrate their successes with them.
She began working for the city of Salida, where she was promoted to deputy city clerk.
She loved her family, her garden, canning, baking and making granola.
Her family said she was never happy being idle and would look for ways to help out.
They also said she had a beautiful singing voice.
At least once a year, she would return to the family farm to help her parents pick black raspberries or chop a tree into firewood.
She was a cat person and a dog person, believing that animals won’t disappoint in the way that humans sometimes can.
Her family said that having spent her early adulthood traveling and running around the world, what she loved best was running in beautiful woods with her own thoughts or with her partner, breathing in the clean Colorado air.
On the day she died she had loaded her dog into the car anticipating a good run.
Ms. Walter was preceded in death by her mother, Ann Walter.
Survivors include her partner, Steve O’Neill; father, Neil Walter of Beloit; brothers, Fred, John and David Walter; sister, Sharon Milliken; sisters-in-laws and brother-in-law; and nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will take place in the near future, and a notice will be posted once a date is set.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Ark-Valley Humane Society.
Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida.
Online condolences may be offered at lewisandglenn.com.