Sandra Lee Illson, born on June 17, 1956, in Tucson, Arizona, bid her final farewell surrounded by her loving family on July 9, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was an extremely unique and extraordinarily strong woman with a personality that was inappropriately funny and exceptionally artistic. With an unquenchable zest for life, Sandi brought an unequivocal perspective and hearty laughter wherever she went.
Sandi had a deep love for animals, particularly horses, dogs, and turtles. She possessed an innate connection with all animals, but cherished her moments of tranquility in the water most. Whether it was swimming, canoeing, enjoying the beach, or simply gazing at an aquarium, Sandi found solace and peace within the aquatic realm. Among other things, such as riding her motorcycle and horses, her fondness for water truly reflected her free-spirit.
Sandi also found beauty in raw nature. She had a unique perspective that allowed her to see the enchantment and allure of the great outdoors. Not only did she appreciate the lush landscapes around her, noting the color-changing of leaves and season changes of weather, she also indulged in deer hunting, raising chickens, pigs, rabbits, and goats, and was illustrious for her vegetable gardens. She recognized, and reveled in, the balance between admiration and participation.
Among Sandi's proudest accomplishments was her mastery in training both horses and dogs. Her expertise as a trainer provided her a lifetime of happiness. She was also recognized as a dedicated leader in the 4H community. And her passion extended beyond animals into arts and crafts—she had a talent for creating beautiful artwork, from wood-working and rock tumbling to sketching and painting. However, above all else, Sandi took utmost pride in being a mother to her three daughters: AprilDawn, Marsha Louise, and Kathryn Grace.
Surrounded by loved ones at the time of her passing, Sandi has left behind an irreplaceable void in their lives. She was predeceased by her parents and Dusty.
Sandi's legacy carries on through her surviving family members who will continue to celebrate her life and keep her memories alive. She leaves behind her three daughters, who were her pride and joy, and their children: AprilDawn (Alexzandra, Xavier, and Gavin), Marsha Louise (Zachery, Warren, Dakota, Elyssa, and Koby), and Kathryn Grace (Michael and Bryan). Additionally, she is survived by her sister Suzy (nephew JD and niece Jessica). Furthermore, Sandi was notably honored that she had great-grandchildren who loved her. They, and future great-granchildren, will grow up hearing stories of their one-of-a-kind great-grandmother.
In Sandi's honor, let us remember her for the intense laughter she brought into our lives and the joy she found in the simplest of moments. She taught us to embrace life's absurdities with ridiculous humor, wide smiles on our faces, and to appreciate beauty in all its forms. May her spirit forever dance to The Eagles and James Taylor as she rests in eternal peace.