IF YOU WANTED a good time and good eats, you couldn't have done better than attending one of the cookouts at the Shubert home in Pennsauken, N.J.
There was only one problem: You might not have been able to make it through the crowd.
The Shuberts thought nothing of cooking for 60 to 70 people at a time: family members, friends, neighbors. It wouldn't have been surprising if a total stranger stopped by to sample those wings and ribs and other delicacies the Shuberts put out.
Another major attraction was the lady of the house, Sonia Renee Shubert.
"She was such a lovable person," said her husband, Marcellis "Mark" Shubert. "People just loved being with her."
Sonia Shubert, hospital employee, dedicated traveler, active churchwoman and devoted family matriarch, died March 3 of cancer. She was 50.
Mark and Sonia had just returned from a trip to Hawaii last fall when Sonia began to feel the symptoms of breast cancer.
"We had such a good time," Mark said. "We couldn't wait to go back."
In their future was another trip to their favorite vacation spot, Aruba. But the future was not to be.
Sonia was born in Philadelphia to Adell and Daiselean Woods. She graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1982, and later took business courses at Rosemont College.
It was while attending Rosemont that she met Mark Shubert, a former bus driver and dispatcher for SEPTA, at a club. They were married last June, but had been together for years.
"I was attracted to her fun-filled, outgoing personality," he said.
Sonia was no doubt a sweetheart, and as cute as the proverbial button. She had a smile that wouldn't quit, and livened up any get-together.
Those family cookouts were legendary. While Mark manned the grill, Sonia would be serving up her famous mashed potatoes, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and seafood salad "to die for," as her husband put it.
Sonia was in hospital administration at Jefferson University Hospital for 10 years, and spent 17 years at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the Research Department.
As a member of First Corinthian Baptist Church, she was a member of the Missionary Board, which meant she would sometimes go door-to-door to spread the faith and bring people into the church.
"Her faith was very strong," her husband said.
Sonia was a passionate fan of local sports teams, especially the Eagles and Sixers. She and her husband had season tickets for the Sixers for a number of years.
Sonia loved to get together with old friends from school, and they would sit around and talk about the old days, Mark said. Besides her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Asia Woods; a stepdaughter, Jennifer Pewlaj; a stepson, Marcellis Shubert Jr.; her parents; two sisters, Chenita Woods and Anna Steward; two brothers, Bruce and Eric Woods; and three grandchildren.