[Iaude] MPEC P109: SONIA KEYS (1961-2018)

mpec at mpcdb1.cfa.harvard.edu mpec at mpcdb1.cfa.harvard.edu
Wed Aug 15 12:29:17 EDT 2018

M.P.E.C. 2018-P109                               Issued 2018 Aug. 15, 15:52 UT
     The Minor Planet Electronic Circulars contain information on unusual
         minor planets and routine data on comets.  They are published
    on behalf of Division F of the International Astronomical Union by the
          Minor Planet Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory,
                          Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

             Prepared using the Tamkin Foundation Computer Network

                              MPC at CFA.HARVARD.EDU
            URL https://www.minorplanetcenter.net/    ISSN 1523-6714

                            SONIA KEYS (1961-2018)

   We are saddened to report that Sonia Keys died on 13 August 2018 at the age
of 57, after a long struggle with cancer.

   Sonia worked as a commercial software developer from 1983 to 2001 and then
began working with the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, specializing in
the tracking of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).  Her skill and reliability with NEO
astrometry caught the attention of the Minor Planet Center (MPC), and that led
to a position as an astronomer and software developer for the MPC.

   As Kyle Smalley, she had served in the United States Navy's Nuclear Power
Program, as an Electronics Technician and Reactor Operator aboard a submarine,
and was honorably discharged in 1982.  She then completed a bachelor of
science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at Central Missouri State
University in 1986.

   A few years after joining the MPC, Kyle made the profoundly brave decision
to live, both personally and professionally, as Sonia Keys.  This quiet but
solid act exemplified the way she approached her work, with conviction and

   Outside of the MPC, Sonia enjoyed programming (yes, she did it for fun!),
photography and sailing on the Charles River.  When weather or health
conditions prevented her from sailing, she enjoyed watching televised yacht
racing on the Internet.

   Sonia was the conscience of the MPC.  Her clarity of thought, her
willingness to ask difficult questions, and her tenacity will be sorely

Matthew J. Holman            (C) Copyright 2018 MPC           M.P.E.C. 2018-P109

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