Kristine Anne PonciaOctober 25, 1959 ~ August 2, 2017 (age 57)
BOISE - Kristine “Kris” Poncia, 57, wife, “step” mother, grandmother and dear friend to all, passed away due to unexpected heart failure on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.
Although unexpected, her passing was peaceful and occurred while sleeping in her bed, surrounded by all the creature comforts of home, her beloved dogs, and books. She had many plans on the horizon including skydiving, going to Salt Lake City to visit the Viking Exhibit, planning her retirement with her husband, John, at the new cabin in Pioneerville, and a road trip with her sisters Kathie and Lannie Jo through California’s National parks to see their oldest sister Nena.
Kristine Anne Sundbeck was born on October 25, 1959 in Boise, Idaho. The fourth girl born to first generation Swedish Americans, Leonard Sundbeck and Nancy (Hansen) Sundbeck, Kris was the baby in everyone’s heart and eyes.
The bookends that encapsulate Kris’s birth and passing were filled with volumes of memories, both happy and sad, life experiences, the simple routines of daily life, and moments that would take one’s breath away. For Kris was a prolific and voracious reader and her life was no less so. Just as the novels she read were filled with voluminous stories, experiences and remembrances, so was her life. Kris was a poet, a philosopher, a wonderful listener, an intellect, and a spiritual person who found joy in the simple moments of life.
Her older sister Kathie (Sundbeck) Corn remembers begging her mother to let her pretend that Kris was her baby daughter. Kris moved in with Kathie and Herb Corn at age 13 and lived with them until age 19. She attended Jackson Grade School, McMillan Middle High and Bishop Kelly High School where she graduated salutatorian.
Kris attended College of Idaho and then later graduated from B.S.U’s school of nursing in 1990 with a bachelors’ of science in nursing, Summa cum laude. While others in high school were perusing through the latest issue of Seventeen, her best friend Karen (KK) Lipsey said she remembers Kris reading The Gulag Archipelago. Family members took pleasure in looking at the stacks of books on her nightstand, asking which ones she would recommend.
Kris was happy exploring various locales not far from home with occasional ventures further away. She loved the Oregon Coast, Jackpot, Wendover, Wallace, Seattle and Washington, D.C.. However, her love of the land was demonstrated most acutely while walking around the natural setting of Pioneerville. Her love of birds, particularly hummingbirds, solidified as did her fellowship with nature. One month ago, while in Pioneerville, she told her friend Katrina that “when I pass away, I would like to be cremated and buried with a tree up in Pioneerville”.
Kris married John Poncia on December 24, 1993 at her sister, Kathie Corn’s, home. Their long lasting union was strong, and a unique bond existed between them until her death and now continues to live on in a different way. Starting with a favorite song lyric, John Poncia said of his wife, “Same as it ever was. Through our years we saw a lot of ups and a lot of downs, but in the end I love her just as much as I ever did, and she always loved us. I’ll miss my pretty girl. She had a beautiful heart.” Through John, she gained four “step” children, each of whom she adored and helped raise into the adults who now all love and miss her so very much.
When describing them to strangers she would always say, “my children” and never bothered with the “step” part. She loved and advocated for them as any great mother would, and with her they lost a cherished and beloved matriarch.
Kris had a self-appointed nickname of “Digger” as she loved researching medical information, best policies and treatments. It was her life-long passion to never stop learning. She was very caring and supportive of the individuals she worked with at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (formerly Idaho State School and Hospital) in Nampa where she worked from 2003 until her passing. For 14 years, patients and co-workers alike were blessed with her depth of knowledge, innate caring and she worked endless hours caring for those individuals who were sick. She went to the hospitals in order to support the families of the clients she worked with. She was a member of the crisis prevention and intervention team of Idaho. She was instrumental in being an R.N. for those people with mental health issues who were in crisis. With this job, she traveled throughout the state, sharing her incredible breadth of knowledge with others. She was on call and was the type of person who remained on call while not required to be on call. Her job truly never ended and she was always giving her advice to those in need.
Kris assumed guardianship of Marie, a resident she met while at SWITC. Marie was like a family member and attended all gatherings with Kris. Kris made sure she was taken care of in the community, monitored her medical care, accompanied her shopping and ensured that she had a quality life. This is just one example of the love and humanitarianism that Kris displayed throughout her life.
Christmas Eve was a much anticipated time not only for Kris’s grandchildren but Kris herself. She never failed to display the awe, excitement and pure joy of a child and was all consumed by the bliss of others. She lived for the radiant energy and spirit of children with each and every holiday. Kris loved to host large, multi-family gatherings where everyone felt welcomed and at home. One of Kris’s greatest delights was the pleasure she took in watching her grandkids, nieces and nephews open their gifts on Christmas Eve. One cannot state enough the ethereal look that transformed her house when she decorated for Christmas. Her trees were sparse and spindly pines cut down at the family cabin each year by her husband John. Kris took great joy in decorating the trees with natural trimmings, traditional Swedish decor and birds. She was a master in decorating with a unique flair and style that never again will be emulated.
Kris was so proud and full of gratitude to be a grandma to 10 grandchildren as well as a great aunt to her nieces and nephews. These were absolutely the stars in her life and she lived for the moments that they surrounded her at family celebrations. Spreading love, joy and time amongst so many children is a tough gig, but Kris was a true natural in this realm making each and every child feel as though they were her favorite. She had a knack for fashion and took the girls on shopping sprees where they would come back festooned in the latest accessories. She took every opportunity possible to attend elementary school functions, birthday parties, and cheer from the sidelines at ball games. Kris was all of the children’s biggest fan.
It was In March of 2017, Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer. Kris faced this tough diagnosis head on with an indomitable spirit, feistiness, zest and playfulness. She immediately bought friends and family breast cancer awareness stickers, bracelets and painted a chunk of her gorgeous blond hair pink. Ironically, this diagnosis gave her a new lease on life. Her homeostatic baseline was always happy and positive, but the cancer made her even more engaged, involved, loving and caused her voice to develop a lilt and exuded a passion renewed by the prospect that life is indeed short and fleeting. She powered and rallied through hip replacement surgery in January of 2017, lumpectomy in April of 2017 followed by three rounds of chemotherapy. She loved her team at MSTI and compared it to “going to a spa” with the acupuncture, massage and passionate and engaged health care providers. When her hair lost their lease on her scalp, she texted a picture and labeled it “hairmageddon” and “hairpacolypse”. She was the person who was always able to bring love, light, laughter and brevity into difficult situations.
Kris is survived by her husband John Poncia, “step” children John Jr. Poncia, Jennifer (Jordan) Ragsdale, Tony (Kristin) Poncia, Tara (Eric) Hernandez, grandchildren Hailey and Johnny Poncia, Elyse, Ethan, Ava, Emma and Ivy Hernandez, Ayla and Ashlyn Ragsdale, Carson Poncia, sisters Nan Lynn DeLaCruz, Kathie Corn and Lannie Jo Davis, nieces Andrea (Mike) Amestoy, Elizabeth “Cissy” Davis, Nancy Apodaca, Dee Dee (Danny) Flores and Kathy (Joey) Cervantes, nephews Richie Davis, Steven (Karen) Corn and Jimmy DaLaCruz. Grandnieces and grandnephews include Wyatt, Ryder and Kylie Amestoy, Taegan Davis, Everly Mae Corn, Delilah DeLaCruz, Dianna, Thalia and Milia Flores, Sal, Angel, Aniyah, Michael, Anthony and Roman Apodaca, Andrew, Alysia, Arielle, Eulalianna, Jo'Lina and Jimmy Cervantes. She is also survived by Marie, whom she had guardianship over and her beloved dogs, Gunnar and Red
One week prior to her death Kris was talking to a dear friend and said, “Life is too short.” It is indeed. Kris…you were so loved. Our lives have been immeasurably shortened as we feel slighted and cheated that not only was your life taken far too early, but that our time with you ended long before we could ever have imagined. Vi alskar dig!
Services will be held Saturday August 12th at 2:00 p.m. at the Cloverdale Funeral Home with a following celebration of life at the Capital City Event Center at 622 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise at 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make charitable donations to the People with Disabilities Foundation, the Humane Society and/or the Usher Syndrome Coalition.