Sonia Babet Gouws, 60, of Mason City, Iowa passed away on November 15, 2023, at her home surrounded by her loving family. Her Memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 25th at the Church of Nazarene, 509 S. Carolina Ave, in Mason City at 11am CT (livestream Https://www.facebook.com/MasonCityNazarene) with Pastor Lori Fish officiating. Immediately following her service lunch will be served at the church.
Sonia was born on June 23, 1963, in Pretoria, South Africa to Adriaan and Gertuida (Kroch) Van Der Merwe. She attended school in Pretoria, South Africa and graduated in 1979. On June 20, 1981, she married the love of her life Joseph "Joe" Gouws in Pretoria. Of this union three children were born. The couple relocated their family to Cottage Grove, Minnesota then later Mission, Kansas. Sonia worked for the University of Kansas Medical Center as the Director of the Cancer Research Labs. Her and Joe moved to Mason City five years ago and Sonia worked as a Lab Technician for MercyOne.
She was a woman with many wonderful qualities. She was affectionate, beautiful, big-hearted and charismatic. She was also creative, dependable, and empathetic, always willing to lend a helping hand. She enjoyed road trips, seeing new places and meeting new people.
Family was of utmost importance to her. She loved her family with unconditional love. She enjoyed spending time with her close and extended family. Sonia has a wide range of hobbies and interests. From a young age, she excelled in track and field, particularly in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. She also had a passion for flower decorating and was known for her artistic flair. She also loved playing Canesta.
Sonia was a devoted Christian and lived her life with compassion and consideration of others. Helping others brought immense happiness, and she was always willing to go the extra mile. Throughout Sonia's fight with cancer, she never lost faith. On the contrary she used every opportunity to share Jesus's love with everyone she came in contact with. Her mission in life was to share her testimony with others. She was a member of the
Church of the Nazarene in Mason City.
Sonia was working on an inspirational book and pamphlet documenting her journey during her fight with cancer and dermatomyositis. Book title will be: To Hell and back in the hand of God.
Those left to cherish her loving memory are her husband, Joe Gouws; children Genell Gouws, Joe Gouws, and AJ Gouws; mother Gertruida Van Der Merwe; grandchildren Soonei Gouws, Austin Gouws, Axton Gouws, Domik Dzbikowicz, and Josiah Gouws; siblings Suria Botha, Marius Van Der Merwe, and Leon Van Der Merwe.
She was preceded in death by her father Adriaan Van Der Merwe.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge in Iowa City, Iowa.
Celebrate Life Iowa has been entrusted with Sonia's cremation care.
Sonia's Favorite Christian Poem:
Me: Hello God
God: Hello ....
Me: I'm falling apart. Can You put me back together?
God: I'd rather not.
God: Because you are not a puzzle.
Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground?
God: Leave them there for a while. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to take any of those pieces back.
Me: You don't understand. I'm breaking!
God: No, you don't understand. You're transcending, evolving. What you feel are growing pains. You're getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. The pieces are being put in place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you. Let them go.
Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left?
God: Only the best pieces of yourself.
Me: I'm afraid to change.
God: I keep telling you: YOU'RE NOT CHANGING! YOU'RE BECOMING!
Me: Becoming, Who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I made you for so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don't change! Become! Don't change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. I'm gonna keep telling you this until you remember.
Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yes. Let it be like this.
Me: So... I'm not broken.
God: No, but you're breaking the darkness, like dawn. It's a new day.
Become who I created you to be!