Sonja Helen Bray Profile Photo
1939 Sonja 2023

Sonja Helen Bray

September 16, 1939 — November 17, 2023


Sonja Bray, 84, of Crookston, MN passed away on Friday, November 17th at McIntosh Senior Living in McIntosh, MN.

Sonja Helen Engen was born on September 16th, 1939 in Crookston, MN, the daughter of Ivar and Mary (Boe) Engen. She was raised in Climax, MN where she graduated from high school in 1957.
In 1964 she married Ronald Bray in Crookston, MN. They moved to the Twin Cities in 1965 where Derek was born in 1966 and she worked for Northwest Airlines, a job that she loved and filled her with pride.  It was a tumultuous time to work in the airlines with many strikes and work stoppages, so in 1974 they returned to Crookston and a surprise arrived in the form of Beth in 1978. Sonja was an extremely dedicated employee who worked very hard over the years, at one time taking on up to 5 jobs to keep up with the bills.

In the summer of 2017, after a sudden inability to stand on her own, she was hospitalized and during this illness she was diagnosed with Dementia and had to enter the nursing home.  Covid took precious time away from many of our loved ones, but being unable to visit for long stretches of time took its toll. 

Left to mourn her loss are her son, Derek (Sandra), Lake Forrest, CA, her daughter, Beth, Crookston, MN, her brother Norm (Doris) Engen, Winona, MN, her nieces, nephew, their children, and her many beloved friends. I wish it was possible to mention all of them, but Judi and Steve Krueger and Pat and Mylon Coauette deserve special mention as they have done so much over these past 6 years while she was in the nursing home to help give her normalcy with many haircuts, visits, drives, and outings.        

I also feel the need to honor the amazing people working at McIntosh Senior Living for helping me at my very lowest point to get mom transferred during Covid. There were many calls to me asking how to get her eating better and acclimated during a time when visitation was unavailable. They helped me feel less guilt for what had previously occurred and supported me in validating my feelings for the egregious treatment elsewhere even before she was officially admitted.  I have never second guessed my decision in moving her, and I know for a fact that they loved mom and are grieving her loss as well. 

A Celebration of Life will be held in the summer of 2024 in order to make it easier for loved ones living further away to be able to plan to attend.

Memorials in Sonja’s honor are welcomed to McIntosh Senior Living, 600 NE Riverside Ave, McIntosh, MN 56556 to help them continue to provide excellent care to their residents. 


To order memorial trees in memory of Sonja Helen Bray, please visit our tree store.

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Stenshoel-Houske Funeral & Cremation Service

615 South Minnesota Street, Crookston, MN 56716

Services Spring/Summer of 2024

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