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Obituaries » Gilma K. Softas

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March 27, 1934 - September 7, 2020

A private family memorial service has taken place at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Donations in Gilma’s memory may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or Grace Valley Assisted Living, c/o the funeral home.

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Gilma K. Softas, 86, died Monday, September 7, 2020, in Kalamazoo. Gilma was under the loving care of the Grace Valley Assisted Living staff for the last three years. The last four months she was under the compassionate care of Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan in the home of her daughter, Carmen. Gilma died peacefully surrounded by her three daughters. She leaves five children Basilia “Lia” (Greg) Softas-Nall of Colorado, Carmen Softas of Kalamazoo, Michigan, George (Valerie) Softas of Greece, Francisco (Soula) Softas of Greece, Fabiola Softas of Florida; grandchildren, Anastasia (Dustin) Stalias-Tibbs, Sofia Softas-Nall, Amanda Everhardus, Kimon Softas, Hilma Softas, Dimitris Softas; four great-grandchildren; and sister, Aura Renobales of Spain; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her spouse, Kimon Softas in 2015; a son in law, Jack R. Everhardus in 2005, and siblings, Javier, Hernando, Fabio, Violetta, Fabiola, and Consuelo. Gilma was born March 27, 1934, to parents Francisco and Carmen (Cadavid) Estrada in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Gilma spent great parts of her life in Colombia, Greece, and settled in Kalamazoo in 1978, when her spouse relocated from Greece for a position with the Upjohn Company. She was an international student at Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, when she met her husband, Kimon of 60 years, during an international dance. They married on September 4, 1954. She devoted her life supporting her husband, raising five children with love, kindness, and endurance. Gilma felt at home wherever she lived, in three countries, speaking three languages, always adjusting to new environments and cultures, spreading her kindness, politeness, and friendliness with everyone, from all walks of life. In their retirement, she and Kimon enjoyed living in Florida for several years before returning to Kalamazoo. Gilma never made any enemies, was always loved by all, young or old, rich or poor. She made friends without discrimination and never had any preconceived ideas about those she met. Even though she was from Latin America, she excelled in Greek cooking. Multiple volleyball, football, and soccer teams in Kalamazoo enjoyed her Greek pastitsio, Greek salad, Greek spaghetti and sauce, and they always came back for more. Her home was always a gathering place for her children’s friends, always a party, always a celebration, with tons of good food that she prepared in a moment’s notice. Gilma was very artistically inclined, loved to do pottery, knit, and create Colombian tapestries. She loved dancing and playing games. In the later years of her life she enjoyed making beaded necklaces and bracelets, that she gave to everyone she met – everyone had to have a necklace. A devoted Catholic, Gilma lived her life according to the teachings of Jesus. Her love of the Virgin Mary carried her through all her life and until death. Dementia deprived Gilma of her speech, but the essence of her soul always remained present. Her children will remember mom her as a saintly person. She will be greatly missed.