Sandra Berry Memorial Fund
Sandra Lee Sheets was born on January 30, 1940, in Kansas City, Missouri to Sarah and Gene Sheets. She graduated from Brownsville High School in Brownsville, Texas in 1958 and received an education degree from Southwest Texas State University in l963. She married Clay C. Berry from Kenedy, Texas, in 1960. Over the next 12 years, as Clay finished his law degree and began his career as an attorney, Clay and “San” moved back and forth between south Texas and the Alaska bush where she taught English and Spanish at the high school level. The couple finally settled in Juneau in 1972 and Sandra focused on raising her daughter and son for the next decade. For many years Sandra sang alto in the Juneau Sweet Adelines.
Sandra was in her early 40’s when she went to work for the State of Alaska. For the next 27 years, San was an Education Specialist for the Alaska Department of Education (DOE). During that time, she earned her Master’s Degree in Adult and Community Education from Alaska Pacific University. Sandra was an incredible organizer, coordinator and problem solver. She would take the complex and make it simple. She loved her job at DOE and made life-long friends there. Her position afforded her the opportunity to travel to schools in many parts of Alaska and a number of states in the Lower 48. She played a major role in the identification of Promising Practices that could be shared between schools in Alaska. She also served as the State Facilitator for sharing National Promising Practices. Her attention to detail and caring attitude will always be remembered.
After Clay’s death in 2000, Sandra moved to Wilsonville, Oregon to be near her daughter, Nena, and son, John, and their families. Sandra created a rich, full life for herself in Oregon. She immersed herself in the civic scene and served on practically every community board and committee in Wilsonville. She became known around town as the consummate volunteer. Sandra forged many special friendships through her volunteer work and continued to maintain close friendships with her co-workers from Alaska DOE. She was an avid walker and also served as “Vice Queen” of the local Red Hat Society. Sandra maintained a life-long love of reading. She served on the board of the Wilsonville Public Library where she shared her passion for books, language and learning with everyone she came in contact with.
Sandra loved to shop and had a fantastic eye for color and style. She was always impeccably dressed with coordinating shoes, purses and jewelry. She loved anything “sparkly” and used bright colors to bring beauty and high spirits to her home. She enjoyed seeing the latest movie and discussing it afterward over dessert with her gal pals. In September 2011, San was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Throughout her treatments that fall her friends marveled at her upbeat and positive attitude. Even when the cancer returned in March 2012 she fought as long as she could. Sandra made her transition on September 3, 2012 with her children by her side. Sandra was a loving mother, caring friend and gentle spirit.
Funds donated to Sandra Berry Memorial will be used to support the new Juneau library in the valley.