In Memoriam: Sono Sato Harris
OCTOBER 17, 1954–JULY 4, 2010
After being diagnosed with stage IV cancer in April 2010 and waging a brief but intense fight against the disease, Sono Sato Harris finished her earthly journey on July 4, 2010. She and her husband, Gregg, were homeschooling pioneers.
Courtesy of the family
Sono and Gregg Harris.
WERE EVIDENCED IN
HOW SHE CHOSE TO INVEST
HER TIME AND ENERGY.
Sono helped Gregg as he launched the Homeschooling Workshops in 1981 (which subsequently helped over 180,000 United States parents start teaching their children at home), as he wrote The Christian Home School (c. 1988) and several other popular books, and as he grew into an international author and speaker. Sono authored Fun Physical Fitness for the Home and continued to stand beside Gregg as he became the founding pastor and teaching elder of the Household of Faith Community Church in Gresham, Oregon, in 1998.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 17, 1954, to Frank and Lily Sato, Sono grew up to dance professionally with the Dayton Ballet Company and taught dance and gymnastics. She married Gregg Harris in 1974, and they had seven children—Joshua, Joel, Alex, Brett, Sarah, Isaac, and James. She is survived by her husband, children, five grandchildren, mother, and three siblings.
“We mourn with the Harris family in their loss,” said HSLDA President Mike Smith. “Sono made a huge impact on the homeschooling community, not only directly, but even more so behind the scenes as she supported her husband and children in all of their endeavors.”
Although Sono only accepted a limited number of speaking invitations, she was able to connect with moms at homeschooling conferences as she shared her life experiences and encouragement on being a wife and mother in her personal, down-to-earth, conversational style.
Following Sono’s death, tributes posted on the internet described her warm, caring personality and humble servant’s heart. From discipling young wives to massaging a new friend’s feet, she was known as a wise, godly woman and left a lasting imprint on many lives and hearts.
Not least was the imprint left on her family. Four children are serving in ministry and have written books or composed music. Her eldest son, Joshua, published New Attitude magazine, wrote the bestselling I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and is now senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Maryland. The twins, Alex and Brett, started the Rebelution website and conferences and wrote Do Hard Things. Joel, the second born, writes music and leads worship for Rebelution conferences. The three youngest—Sarah, Isaac, and James—are still at home. Sono’s children carry on her vision to share Christ with as many people as possible and to challenge others to make the most of every opportunity.
“It was an entirely peaceful parting. Our family is grieving, and yet grieving as those who have hope because of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us. Goodnight, Mama,” Joshua wrote on his blog, JoshHarris.com.
“Many of the nearly 2,000 people at Sono’s memorial service had been touched by her life—whether at her church, in her ballet classes, through her pro-life work, or in her drama and debate coaching,” reflected HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris. “Sono’s priorities were evidenced in how she chose to invest her time and energy. She channeled her energies and used her many talents in ways that included her children and church family. Her life’s imprint is profoundly deep and unquestionably lasting. She set a tremendous example.
“We grieve with Gregg and his family, knowing that their loss is great, but we join them in rejoicing that their precious wife and mother is healed and whole and in the arms of our Savior.”