Elizabeth Betty Sonderman

Elizabeth (Betty) L. Sonderman, 83, died in Mentone. She was born on Feb. 20, 1938, to Charles J. Cushing and Mercedes O. Cushing (Kane) in Manila, Philippines.

Betty, and her father, mother, and brother were imprisoned in Santo Tomas Interment Camp in Manila, Philippines during WW II from January 1942 until they were freed by American forces in February 1945. In 2005, Betty wrote the book: “By the East Wind Driven” which gives an account of her family’s experiences in the Philippines during their interment.

On June 11, 1955, Betty married another Philippine holocaust survivor Robert (Bob) MacGavin (deceased in 2017) in Athens, Greece. They raised five children: Rick MacGavin, Brian MacGavin, James MacGavin (deceased in 1990), Judith Duquesnay, and Ramona MacGavin.

Betty earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of California, Riverside, while raising her children. She worked for 20 years as a school teacher in San Bernardino, Colton, and Moreno Valley.

Having authored several books, and written in magazines and journals, Betty was listed in “Who’s Who in International Poetry.” Betty professed into the Secular Franciscan Order in 2001 and as a member of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church of Yucaipa, since 2009 she involved herself in the church choir and the Catholic Daughters. Betty generously donated what little she had to the church, charities, and helping others while living a meager lifestyle. She enjoyed talking and playing Mexican train dominoes with other residents at Northview Mobile Home Park in Yucaipa.

Betty was preceded in death by her second husband Amandus (Mandy) M. Werner (deceased 1997) and her third husband Bernard (Skip) Sonderman (deceased 2009) of Sonora, California. She is survived by her brother Charles J. Cushing Jr. of Downers Grove, Illinois, her two sons and two daughters of Yucaipa listed above. Additional family members are her daughters-in-laws Debbie MacGavin and LeeAnn MacGavin, son-in-law Joe Duquesnay (deceased 2020), and grandchildren Ashley MacGavin, Shawn MacGavin, and Kyle MacGavin of Yucaipa. Other grandchildren living outside of California are Rachel Johnson, Nicole Johnson, Timothy Johnson (deceased), Kevin Johnson, Jennifer Johnson, Amanda Johnson, Monica Johnson, Renee MacGavin, Nicolas Ibarra, Raymond Ibarra, and Mary (Maggie) Hill.

A Mass service will be held in her honor on Thursday, May 20, at 10 a.m. at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church in Yucaipa. A grave side service will be performed at Montecito Memorial Park 3520 E. Washington St. Colton, on Friday, May 21, at 10:30 a.m. in the Garden of Valor.