By Almeda Girod
Sonia Pasis grew up living in DC and idolized Sonja Henie (Olympic Norwegian ice skater and later movie star). Her parents were Russian immigrants who managed small grocery stores around DC. Sonia went to five different grade schools as her parents moved from store to store with the family (including two siblings) living in the rear of the stores.
Two weeks after graduating from Coolidge High School, Sonia went to work as a secretary for five attorneys on K Street. She was not experienced and recalls disconnecting a call from the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, on her first day. Her employers sent her to Strayer’s Business School to improve her shorthand and typing.
Sonia began roller skating in high school and managed to purchase ball-bearing skates for $18.95 and began speed skating. A boyfriend bought her precision skates and she began dance skating.
Competitive skating required travel and a more flexible government position with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) led to a 34-year career with seven overseas assignments (Germany twice, France, Denmark, Vietnam, Greece, and Finland). Roller skating was not as popular overseas and so Sonia began ice skating although roller skating remains her “first love.”
Sonia became an accomplished roller dance skater as well as an ice skater winning numerous national and international awards including the prestigious trophy as first place in the couples National Ice Skating Adult Dance Event in 1972 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sonia moved to Meadowbrook Square two years ago. Having been reared in a conservative Jewish home, she is active in the Riderwood Jewish community and is studying Yiddish (her mother’s language).
She continues as a social roller skater as well as a sideline coach. Skating can be a dangerous sport and Sonia has had 10 fractures and two knee replacements but states emphatically, “it has been worth every one of them.”