MEDFORD, Ore. — Sandra Jean Amish exemplified an evolution after death, the flowers surrounding the Medford, Ore., home of Sandra Jean Amish are in full bloom as if awaiting the tears of grief and joy from those in remembrance to replenish them.
Sandy, who died peacefully in her bed July 4, left a legacy of a life lived to the fullest every step of the way. Some steps involved challenges. Others represented milestones in which the family, tropical places, animals, music and adventure led her on a path of touching hearts. Her giggle with the crinkle of her nose and gleam in her eye made it known she planned to make a mark in this world.
Ask anyone who knew her. She did.
Sandy was born Nov. 15, 1957, in Hanover, N.H. She grew up and attended school in Woodstock, where some family members still reside.Sandy also still has members from the Shirlock family in South Royalton.
Albeit too young to go, Sandy accomplished much in her time here. She raised two children and has enjoyed spending some time with the recent addition, granddaughter Jiah. Sandy took part in sports through the years and danced her heart away. Her love of music was as prevalent as her love for animals, in particular her two dogs, Alistair and Zoey. On the professional side, she rose to a high level of financial and office management in her career.
Most recently, she served as the fiscal manager at Kairos, an adult rehabilitation center in Grants Pass. Before that, she was the finance manager for the Harry & David novelty gift operation based in Medford, Ore. among others.
Her volunteer work included stints with the United Way, Soroptimist, Hearts and Vines, United Soccer as a board member and little league baseball.
Beyond being a natural gymnast at Montrose High School in Colorado, she also thrived at waterskiing at her family’s second home on Mascoma Lake in New Hampshire. Snow skiing pursuits would take her from the rolling hills of Vermont to the high mountains of the West at Telluride, Colo., and Lake Tahoe, Calif., where her only sister, Susan “Susie” Wood, lives.
The activities expanded when she developed a love for being out to sea. A year ago, she sailed the Florida Keys with her friend, Renard Maiuri, on his boat. The adventure led to her lifelong dream to swim with the dolphins at a research center near Bahia Honda State Park. The tropics represented a constant safe haven to her.
She took up scuba diving as an adult, leading her on a special trip to Belize in Central America with her daughter, Jennica Austin, and her fiancé Ross’s family.
That love of family and entertaining and being entertained is what epitomized Sandy’s nurturing personality. She enjoyed the simple pleasures of watching Eugene’s University of Oregon Ducks football team win with her son, James Austin, and her brother, Michael Wood; riding on an all-terrain vehicle years ago with her late father, Lawrence Wood; and working on bright-colored Jigsaw puzzles with her mother, Merle Wood.
Bright is the only way to see Sandy. To those who love her, she’s a star as a consummate host, dedicated friend, loving family member and optimist that there’s always a silver lining, a second chance and a way to “seize the day.”
“She always wanted to go around the world,” her mother said.
And now she can travel to heaven.
Goodbye, Sandy, until we meet again.
One may also write messages on her obituary posted on the Conger-Morris mortuary website: www.congermorris.com.
This obituary first appeared in the July 11, 2013 print edition of the Vermont Standard.
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