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In Memoriam: Sonia Maasik

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Sonia Maasik, my wife and co-author through 10 editions of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. and three editions of California Dreams and Realities, passed away at 12:50 p.m. on May 10, 2021. I was by her side at the end, as well as during an extraordinary two or three hours the night before when she summoned the very last of her strength to break through the increasing drip of pain killers and the coming darkness she knew only too well was approaching, to utter words that those of us who were there now realize she must have been preparing for some time, gathering and hoarding her dwindling strength and waiting for just the right moment to say them.

Those words, in all truth, were simply and entirely words of love, prefaced by explicit declarations that these were her last words. She so wanted us to understand this. She was so triumphant when she saw that we did understand. She was so brave.

More than this on such a public medium as the World Wide Web would be out of place. But I want to note, once again, that the creation of Signs of Life in the U.S.A. was entirely Sonia's idea. I thought that it was a very good idea from the start, but it bears pointing out that it was Sonia's. The books that have descended from Sonia's brainstorm over twenty-five years ago will be a part of her legacy; the other will be the love that she felt for, and inspired in, those who knew and worked with her: at UCLA, at Bedford/St. Martin's, and in our home.


I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your love for Sonia with the rest of us here. 

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee

What a beautiful and touching tribute to Sonia.  She sounds remarkable and I wish you and all of those who loved her comfort and support during this difficult time. 

New Contributor
New Contributor

This was so emotional this melt my heart stay strong in this tough time.


About the Author
Suzanne K. McCormack, PhD, is Professor of History at the Community College of Rhode Island where she teaches US History, Black History and Women's History. She received her BA from Wheaton College (Massachusetts), and her MA and PhD from Boston College. She is currently at work on a study of the treatment of women with mental illness in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Massachusetts and Rhode Island.