June 9, 1959 – October 11, 2022
Monica Lynn Gonder was born to Catherine Cecelia Kraft and James Joseph Gonder on June 9, 1959, in Spokane, Washington, where she was baptized into the Catholic Church. She was the fourth of five children. Unfortunately Monica’s mother passed away suddenly at the age of 30 leaving behind 2 1/2 year old Monica, her baby sister Marguerite, and 3 older brothers.
Monica found strength and joy especially in her relationship with her baby sister, Marguerite. Both motherless their entire lives, God blessed them with an unbreakable bond. From the beginning, the two girls were inseparable. Marguerite would always remind Monica saying, “I’ll find you sis,“ and Monica would reply, “I’ll find YOU, sis!”
Monica grew up everywhere; in Spokane, Tacoma, Chehalis, Federal Way, Portland, and Wenatchee, Washington where she attended Wenatchee High School. It was here that she met her boyfriend, Jack Merchant, whose family played an extraordinary part
in Monica’s life. Jack Merchant told his parents that his girlfriend needed help and the Merchant family gave Monica that unconditional love and support that she was needing. Jack (senior) and Jeanine Merchant loved Monica very much and worked tirelessly to secure guardianship for the purpose of Monica’s much needed medical care and professional counsel. Monica was artistic and creative, evident in the thoughtful ceramic dog she made for Christee Merchant, who was her own age. The girls became like siblings during her stay with the family. Christee still has the dog, which was a replica of her own dog at the time. The girls graduated together in 1977. After graduation from Eastmont High School her adventurous spirit took her to Seattle for a time, but even then, the Merchants assisted Monica financially when she asked for help. Contact from Monica discontinued after Jack (senior) passed away. The family felt perhaps his loss was too painful for her to continue staying in touch. Wendy, another daughter of Jack and Jeanine, tried many years to find Monica, but Wendy’s efforts were fruitless. Thankfully, during the past few years she was blessed to reconnect with Monica due to the effort of big sister Marguerite. Rekindling their friendship was a huge blessing! The family’s love for, and fondness of, Monica never wavered over the years.
During Monica’s time in Seattle, and aided by the Merchant family, she attended ITT Peterson School of Business excelling at typing (100 words a minute).
Monica also worked as a cashier in thrift and grocery stores in her 20’s.
In March of 1980, although Monica was baptized into the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints in Ogden, Utah in preparation for what would be a short marriage to Steve Sauter, her Catholic faith remained with her. And she was loyal to both faiths her whole life.
Monica loved drawing, poetry, dancing, movies, puzzles, board games, fortune cookies and visiting parks and the ocean. But she especially loved reading books, magazines and the Bible.
Her greatest joy came from the birth of her beloved daughter, Julie Ann Champine, on August 30, 1994. Monica would always refer to her daughter as “My girl.” The world stopped when she was with her daughter. Nothing was more important to her than the love she had and still has for her daughter, Julie.
And Julie’s love for her mother has been steadfast. And so despite the tragedies in her life, Monica found endless love with her daughter and sister.
On October 11, 2022, Monica Lynn Gonder passed away quickly of a rare infection in Renton, Washington, where her daughter Julie and sister Marguerite were at her side.
In the final months of Monica’s life, she thought everyday about seeing her mother, Catherine, again. We are thankful that Monica’s desired wish was to return to her mother and father and our Lord in heaven.
Monica was preceded in death by her parents, Catherine Cecilia (Kraft) Gonder and James Joseph Gonder. She is survived by her daughter, Julie Champine; her brother Mark, wife Pricilla (Goodall) Gonder, their son Andrew, and daughter Catherine; brother John Gonder; brother Matthew Gonder and his wife Pamela (Rogers) Gonder; sister
Marguerite Gonder and her daughter Annabel Detering; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces!
A rosary will be held on November 3, 2022, at 7:00 pm and a Funeral Service on November 4, 2022 at 10:30 am at Blessed Sacrament Parish at 5050 8th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105.
Any donations will be greatly appreciated and used to help with funeral costs: