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SONDRA LOUISE BRAID B.A., LL.B. Sondra died on November 15, 2004 in South Korea due to complications from pneumonia. She is survived by her parents, Arthur and Judy Braid; her brother Kyle; her sister Lianne Welburn (Dean) and her niece Penny. She also leaves many uncles, aunts, cousins and friends and her ex-husband Matt Pederson of Brainerd, MN. Sondra was born in Winnipeg on March 8, 1964 where she resided until her marriage to Matt Pederson in 1991 when she took up residence near Brainerd. She became an American (dual) citizen in 1995. After her separation, she returned briefly to Winnipeg but left for Austin, TX in 1996. She returned to Winnipeg in September of this year only to leave four days later to teach English for one year in South Korea. Sondra was educated at General Byng, Chapman, St. Marys Academy and Shaftesbury High. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba in 1990 and her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1987. Sondra was called to the bar in Manitoba in 1988 and practised family law with Newman, MacLean and Associates and then Wilder, Wilder and Langtry. In 1990 she ran unsuccessfully as the Progressive Conservative candidate against Reg Alcock in the Provincial Osborne constituency. After her move to Brainerd in 1991, she was employed as a dealer in a casino and later as a county court administrator. When she arrived in Texas she decided to pursue a long-held desire to teach. She enrolled at Southwest Texas State University and received her Teaching Certificate in 1999. She taught at high schools in Bastrop and Austin, TX and also taught life-skills to inmates of a "lockup facility" at Lockhart, TX. Her last teaching post was teaching English in South Korea. Sondra was a unique personality who throughout her life marched to her own drummer. She saw adversities as opportunities and never shrank from challenging her own limits. Her personality created highs and lows that were equally sharp. In her all too short years she experienced life to the full. Skydiver, casino dealer, used car salesperson, cemetery plot sales rep, court administrator, political candidate, waitress, policy analyst, back room politician, lawyer and teacher are but some examples of the eclectic nature of her activities and occupations. Whether it was her affection for her ferrets, her passion for NASCAR racing or anything else, she did nothing by half-measure. Nowhere however was her resolve more evident than in her dedication to the students in her charge. She was a creative and challenging teacher whose students could not help but know that she truly cared about the education of each of them personally. She taught in one of the toughest high schools in Austin as well as in a Texas prison. Letters from some former students are testimonials of her special knack for motivating to learn the so-called unteachable rebel. Sondra touched many people in diverse ways during her life. Her family, friends, associates and former clients and students are all diminished by her passing but enriched by her living. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 27 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Marys Anglican Church, southeast corner of Roblin Boulevard and Haney Street, Charleswood. The Rev. Gordon Dixon will officiate. No flowers please.
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on November 25, 2004