Sonia Vrooman Lien

20 September, 19359 March, 2016

Aloha to all, 9 March 2016

Sonia Lien Vrooman Kahanamoku is dead. Born 20 September 1935, Sonia passed away on 9 March 2016 at Bainbridge Island Health & Rehab, Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA.

Sonia Lien suffered her first years of life from neglect and abuse, as well as bigotry from her birth family. Sonia’s mother, likewise abandoned by her Southern racist family and with no support community, was unable to help her baby. From early on, Sonia exhibited all the psychopathology of attachment disorder, a condition of which at the time there was little understanding.

Music, and playing the role of entertainer, became for Sonia the art of her survival and the creative lifeblood of coping into adulthood. She continued to play, sing, and entertain those around her as she navigated a four year hitch in the Navy Hospital Corps. She received her honorable discharge DD 214 on 1 August 1958.

On 18 December 1964 Sonia married Stanley Orvis Lien, another step toward healing. Sadly Stanley passed away 18 August 1995. 15 years later Sonia discovered her Hawaiian roots and heritage, making joyful connection with her ’ohana in the Islands, and for the first time visiting the grave of her father, Samuel Alapai Kahanamoku. She wrote her story, with coauthor K. D. Kragen, From Alone To Aloha: The Sonia Lien Story, published in 2011 (

In the final days of her earthly sojourn, Sonia maintained her cheery self. She saw her last moments "as a new beginning," assuring those around her "all is well with my soul." As a survivor, artist, friend, delightful Hawaiian, Sonia amazed us all with her outlook on life, on death, her Aloha, her shalom. "My cancer, living with cancer is a blessing – a joy!" she once noted. "I appreciate the opportunity to visit with and care for others who visit me in my final days in this life." Right to the end she found ways to care about others, her visitors, her roommate in the bed next to her at the hospice.

A me ke aloha ke aloha ka i 'oi a'e, pomaika'i na mea apau, pomaika'i na mea apau (When there is ALOHA everything is blessed, everything is blessed).*

Cancer doesn't need to translate into fear. For some cancer is trumped by hope. This was Sonia Lien Kahanamoku. From paradise to Paradise.

Mahalo for Sonia’s life. See her in the next. We thank the God for Sonia’s kindness and love. Aloha kākou. A Memorial Celebration will be held on April 2nd at 2:00 PM, Poulsbo First Lutheran Church. *ʻEkolu Mea Nui - by Robert J.K. Nawahine


Sonia Vrooman Lien

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Ann Best-Rabonza

11 August 2016

Aloha Sonia! Auntie Lorie of the Aloha Kitchen told me of you and gave me a paper about your book and history. I called the number on the paper but to no avail and even emailed you at the email address yesterday, 8.9.21016. When I didn't hear back I decided to google if there was an obituary about you and sure enough here it is! I am so sorry I didn't get to meet you in person as my email stated, I wanted to invite you for coffee and just sit and listen to your stories! Yes, we would have "talked story." Our stories are quite similar and that is why Auntie Lorie told me of you. I see we both love the Lord so prayerfully when I go home to heaven I will meet you there! I suffered also because of the color of my skin and although my adoptive parents spoiled me with love, the children I went to school with in Hopkins and Minneapolis, MN. were cruel. It took me to go to Hawaii to finally accept my skin color and appreciate and am grateful for the way God made me to look. Wherever I go on the mainland or the Hawaiian islands, everyone thinks I am Hawaiian and I love it! Thank you for sharing your story, I just ordered it and you have inspired me to write my story too! May your family have peace in their loss but what a celebration it was when you entered heaven! Aloha, A hui hou! Mary Ann Best-Rabonza of Poulsbo, WA. I am on 4th street right down the street from the Lutheran Church. God bless you Sonia!

Dave Kragen

15 March 2016

Aloha e Sonia. You've gone to be with your Creator! Brava, dear sister and friend. Mahalo nui for your life. See you in the next. Shalom, K. D. Kragen & Janet L. Kragen

Teri Manuel

14 March 2016

Aunty Sonia we will miss seeing your sweet smile at Hugs. May the heavens rejoice now that they have a Hugs angel to serenade them. You are finally at peace & with your heavenly father. Aloha Moki & Teri

Dorothy Courtright

11 March 2016

While it's said that 'everyone' has a book within them, few have the tenacity to make that book happen. 'Alone to Aloha' was the telling of your story, and this is the Aloha of all Alohas that we bid you now, knowing someday we'll see you again.

From the Family
From the Family