Sonya Raymakers' stunned parents, Bonnie Packer and Bob Raymakers, were surrounded by family and friends in their south Palo Alto home Thursday, while planning their daughter's funeral service -- set for Friday, June 5, at 1 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St., Palo Alto, followed by a graveside service at 2:30 p.m. at Alta Mesa Memorial Park.
Raymakers was born at Stanford Hospital and attended PreSchool Family, Palo Verde Elementary School and JLS Middle School before reaching Gunn.
She was "the best of friends" with her older brother, Jeff Raymakers, 29, who lives in Seattle, Packer said.
Although Raymakers was small when her brother left home, he went to Stanford University and was able to spend time with his sister.
Following in his footsteps, Raymakers became engaged with Palo Alto Children's Theatre at an early age, participating in many productions.
"She had small parts. She was never like an 'actress actress,'" her mother said. "She just liked the theater."
"She wanted to be a costume designer that was her dream. She had a lot of things going for her, and she was so excited to be going to the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU this fall."
Raymakers had lined up summer jobs designing costumes for the late June and early July production of Mary Zimmerman's interpretation of "Metamorphoses" at the Pear Avenue Theatre in Mountain View. She also was just starting a job at Tea Time in downtown Palo Alto, her mother said.
Last summer she worked on costumes for Dragon Theatre's production of Tom Stoppard's "Rough Crossing."
Sonya was a "self-driven" musician, playing piano and viola.
But her great passion was theater, and she found a home in Gunn's "Green Room" with mentors Jim Shelby and Jessie Hawkins, Packer said.
Packer is well-known in the community, having served on Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission. She has been affiliated with the YMCA, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.
A funeral service has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Congregation Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St., Palo Alto, followed by a graveside service at 2:30 p.m. at Alta Mesa Memorial Park (opposite Gunn). The services will be conducted by Rabbi Ari Cartun and Unitarian Minister Amy Zucker Morgenstern.
Details of the services were printed in the online newsletter, the Gunn Connection:
The synagogue on Alma holds about 350 people.
Sonya's friends, especially those from the drama and stage tech communities, teachers and community friends are all invited to the service at 1 p.m. Please carpool because parking space is limited.
The graveside service at Alta Mesa Cemetery is open to anyone who would like to attend.
Following the service at Alta Mesa, students and teachers and other guests are invited back to Gunn for refreshments. The Little Theatre will be open for friends to write messages in Sonya's memory for her family.
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