Sophia DeLoria remembered for her energy and kind heart
LAHAINA — The West Maui community on Friday laid to rest Sophia “Sophie” Mae DeLoria, a young girl with a zest for life and a role model for her kindness.
Father Bill Albinger led the service of thanksgiving for the life of Sophia at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Lahaina. Hundreds of people filled the church and sat and stood outside to attend the Friday morning service.
The eight-year-old daughter of Susan and Francis “JD” DeLoria suffered fatal injuries in a rock-slide on the Pipiwai Trail in Kipahulu on May 31.
Her uncle, Douglas Robb, said Sophia made the world a brighter place.
Grandfather Derek Robb read a letter to Sophia from her family.
He said the vibrant youngster made her family proud in everything she did — a “total superstar.”
For Sophia, there were no strangers in life — only friends she hadn’t met yet, Derek commented. At the beach or in a mall, she would walk up, introduce herself and make new friends.
He recalled her great determination at swimming with Lahaina Swim Club. When coach Tom Popdan or her dad yelled encouragement, Sophia gave it her all.
Derek said Sophia and her family went on trips to all sorts of places — Whistler, British Columbia to go skiing, Italy last year and London.
At five, Sophia visited the Sydney Opera House to see “Six White Boomers.” When members of the audience were invited to come up and sing, Sophia ran up first and stood front and center for the number.
Sophia became “a really beautiful and special person,” her grandfather said, and she will be remembered for her wonderful, unique personality.
He said Sophia set an example of how to live — open and friendly — and he hopes to follow her example.
Susan said Sophia will always be remembered for her zest for life and boundless energy.
Her loved ones miss Sophia and will forever hold her in their hearts.
Her ballet instructor said Sophia “came leaping into life.”
She was enthusiastic, a delightful child to teach and a girl who would go all-out on stage to make people smile.
Popdan sent a letter that was read by Paula Pope of Lahaina Swim Club. He noted that Sophia embodied the characteristics of youth — fun, energetic and in the moment in the pool.
Sophia kept Popdan on his toes, because she always looked for ways to make practice more fun for the team. In turn, Sophia always did her best when practicing or racing.
Popdan called Sophia the “Go Get ‘Em Girl” for her verve and zest for life.
Her passing shows how precious life is, Popdan wrote, and that God needs her in Heaven.
Albinger, who knew Sophia from her time as a preschooler at Holy Innocents, said the church is God’s House, where all are ‘ohana and treat each other with kindness and respect.
“Sophia learned those lessons very, very well,” he said.
“If anyone was feeling bad, the first person to their side was her.”
The community can follow her good example, Albinger said, and let others know they are loved and they matter.
Sophia recently completed second grade at King Kamehameha III Elementary School.
A shrine was created outside the school, and Principal Steve Franz read Psalm 23 at Friday’s service.