Sandra Verlene Meinhardt, 74, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., passed away at the home of her son, Brett Meinhardt, also of Sierra Vista, April 14, 2012, after a brief struggle with melanoma cancer.
She was born March 13, 1938, the third child of Ralph and Avis Headley Clay in Broken Bow. She started elementary school near Berwyn. In February 1947, she and her sister Dawn, after the death of their mother, moved to Longview, Wash., to live with their grandparents, Willie and Elsie Headley.
In summer of 1948 she and Dawn returned to Broken Bow as the family was being reunited when father Ralph Clay married Betty Christensen. She attended high school two years in Broken Bow then transferred to Anselmo-Merna High School where she graduated as salutatorian in 1955.
Sandra taught in a Custer County rural school for one year. She and Dale Wayne Meinhardt were married Oct. 5, 1956, in Tucson, Ariz. She followed Dale as he served in the US Army, including Fort Benning, Ga., where their first son, Steven, was born, and finally ending up in Arizona at Fort Huachuca.
Dale then worked as a mechanic for civilian contractors and for the Cochise County Sheriffâ€™s department.
She was affiliated with the Tombstone Unified School District for many years as both a secretary and librarian. Sandra graduated from Cochise College, receiving high honors and attaining her associate of applied science and her associate of general studies in 1988.
She started working for H & R Block as a tax consultant in 1990. Except for one year in Nebraska, Dale and Sandra lived in Huachuca City until Daleâ€™s death Dec. 26, 1992. After Daleâ€™s death, Sandra moved to Tucson in 1994 with H&R Block. In 2007, she moved to Sierra Vista as she continued working for H & R Block until her final illness.
She was a long-time member of the Huachuca United Methodist Church and recently attended Mountain View Assembly of God. She loved singing and was a member of several quartets and choirs for many decades. She also enjoyed painting, crocheting, and constructing many kinds of crafts.
She is survived by four sons, Steven (Margaret) of Tucson, Ariz., Jerry (Linda) of Bath, Maine, Brett (Jessica) of Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Scott (Nikki) of Sierra Vista, Ariz.; brothers, Lawrence (Corliss) of Kennewick, Wash., Richard (Judy) of Horton, Kan., Jim and Roger, both of Merna; sisters, Dawn Johnson of Merna, Jean (Dillard) Anderson of North Platte, and Elizabeth (Kevin) Baker of Kenosha, Wisc.; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dale; daughter, Susan Aimee; parents, Ralph and Avis Clay; brother, Leland (Pat) Clay; and sister, Anita Campbell.
Sandra has donated her melanoma to cancer research in hope of helping find a cure. She was cremated and her ashes will be interred next to her husband, Dale, in the Sierra Vista Cemetery. At her request, there will be no funeral service. A celebration of life will be held later.
Published in Custer County Chief, April 19, 2012