Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.
Sandra Eileen McConnell
Sandy McConnell was a young woman hitchhiking her way through Europe in the mid 1970’s when she realized she was caught in the middle of a Basque uprising in southern France and northern Spain. It would take more than a little regional skirmish among Spanish separatists to deter her from completing her journey.
“I really wasn’t sure what would happen. We were stuck there until things cooled down,” she said, recalling the long summer she spent satisfying a lifelong dream of travel and adventure. “I guess it was just another stop along the pathway,” she said.
Sandra Eileen McConnell’s remarkable journey through life ended September 24 when she died of advanced bladder cancer at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home in Atlanta. She was 68.
Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Sandy spent much of her lifetime working as a nurse – first at the famed Charity Hospital in New Orleans, where she attended the Charity School of Nursing, and at other facilities in the South, including WellStar Cobb Hospital in Austell, Georgia. She also worked several years as a home health nurse. She finished her career at Columbus Technical College where she taught dozens of nursing and medical assistants in both classroom and clinical settings. She retired from Columbus Tech three years ago.
When not nursing, Sandy sold real estate in metro Atlanta and, for a short while, owned and operated the Lake Rabun Hotel Bed & Breakfast in North Georgia. Besides Europe, she also traveled extensively in the U.S. Outside of her native Mississippi and her childhood home in Louisiana, she designated her favorite spot as Alaska.
Sandra Eileen McConnell was born into a large family of multiple aunts and uncles and so many cousins spread throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas it was hard to keep track of them. She spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Lockport, Louisiana., where she attended Central Lafourche High School, played alto saxophone in the band. With her bright eyes and impish smile, she was one of the cutest girls in the Class of 1968. Everybody loved Sandy.
She was married twice to husbands who shall go unnamed here. Suffice it to say that they were part of her great adventure too. But mostly she learned to be self-sufficient and she never outgrew her desire to travel, listen to music, cook her favorite creole recipes and dance to the cadences of her Mississippi and Louisiana roots.
She could make, according to her extended family, a seafood gumbo that would taste of sweet salvation. It became the go-to meal at Christmas celebrations and family reunions. Although others tried, they couldn’t quite duplicate the impeccable quality of Sandy’s roux.
Along the way she also developed an affinity for dogs and cats in need of rescue. When she was last hospitalized she had two dogs, Bootsy and Lulu, and a cat, Pepper. She took all of them in, either as adoptees or rescues. Her final years were spent in their presence. They adored her, and she them. Lulu even paid a visit to her in hospice, before rescue groups made arrangements to transport Lulu to a forever home in Illinois.
When Sandy could no longer travel, she enjoyed visits from her sister, Shereen Walls King of Atlanta, and her niece, Erin Walls McFall. Erin’s husband Joe and her two children, Jack and Fiona, were frequent visitors. Sandy was also very close to her cousin, Beverly Vincent, a former Columbus resident who now lives in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. When they both lived in Columbus they could be seen frequently together shopping at discount stores and drinking adult beverages at their favorite Columbus venues.
Sherry, her only sister, remembers Sandy as a free spirit and courageous. Very little could stop her from her mission, Sherry said. Once, as a child, Sandy took it upon herself to evangelize in the neighborhood where they grew up. She went to the door of an eccentric man who lived nearby to tell him how she could help him be saved. When the man arrived at the door naked, it didn’t stop Sandy. “She started in on what she wanted to tell him. It didn’t faze her at all. She was like that. She didn’t scare easily.”
A memorial service and internment for Sandy McConnell near her mother’s grave in New Augusta, Mississippi, will be held at a later date. Georgia Cremation of Duluth, Georgia has information on arrangements (678)584-0914. Messages of condolence may be shared at www.GeorgiaCremation.com.
Prior to her passing, Sandy asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Animal SOS Foundation, 2429 Norris Rd., Columbus, GA 31907. She wishes to thank Animal SOS for helping her place Bootsy, Lulu and Pepper into new homes when Sandy could no longer care for them. She also is appreciative of the care she received from the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne and the staff of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Donations can be made to the OLPH Home, 760 Pollard Blvd., Atlanta, GA. 30315.
Bobbie Dickerson says
Thank you so much for sharing Sandy’s life with us. We missed getting old with this wonderful person who graduated with us. God be with you
Cynthia Trant says
Such a great lifelong friend. I will always treasure our friendship. My condolences to Sherry and all the family. Till we meet again…….
Gary Acosta says
It was great to see her a couple of years ago and keeping up with her on Facebook. Always one of my favorite people. Condolences to Sherry, BJ, and the rest of the family.
Melia Crowe says
Have not seen Sandy in years, but I remember her as always being very cute with a very sweet personality. Thanks for sharing her life with us. Condolences to the family.
Eve V. Parr Adams says
I was younger than Sandy, being of the l970 class at Central, but I remember and often wondered where she was. She didn’t really know me but I knew her to be really nice and sweet. She did have an adventurous life it seems from the Bio. Thank you to the friends and family members who shared her life story. She seemed to be a true servant of the Lord. May you rest in peace, Sandy.
Janis Dufrene Giroir says
Sandy was one of the sweetest person I have known, she had the most prettiest smile and a kind heart, wish I could have seen her again. Rest In Peace Sweet Sandy🙏
Donna C. Gervais says
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15
Such a beautiful tribute in memory of a beautiful person inside and out. I was one of Sandy’s classmates. I can’t remember when I saw her last, but I do have good memories of her especially her beautiful smile and how sweet a person she was. I was blessed to read how she lived a full life and was one of God’s servants on earth. I thank God for blessing so many of us with her life and taking her home with Him. My prayers go out for her family and friends. May the Lord surround all of you with His love and comfort.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Frances Dufrene says
Sandy was a beautiful person inside and out. Condolences to her family you’re in my prayers. Sandy was a big part of my life and my family’s for a long time we loved her very much we shared a lot of good time they will always be with me and have for a long time she’s always been very special person to me and my family! Rest in peace dear friend.
Peter "Randall" Theriot says
May Sandy Rest in Peace. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since graduation but I remember her as a beautiful person inside and out. I had no idea she had ties to Perry County(New Augusta, MS). My mother was from there and I spent summers there with Grandmother and cousins. My sister and I have acreage there in Hintonville, MS that has been in our family 100+ years. If anyone knows the cemetery where she will be laid to rest I would like to know. Condolences to her friends and family.
Brenda Dantin McKey says
My sweet friend Sandy, may she Rest In Peace!!! Sandy will be missed by many as she touched so many with her sweet personality and that smile of hers!!!! Condolences to Sherry and family!!!❤️🌺🙏🏻
Dee Dee Holland says
Sandy was a special breed. She always stopped in the halls of CTC to share a laugh and often times, a hug. I know she will be missed by so many, including me. She just took off on her greatest trip ever…fly high and RIP, Sandy!
Sandy was a shining light in the Health Sciences Dept of Columbus Tech. We enjoyed her stories and rejoiced with her when she finally retired. Her hope was always to move back home to be near her family. I will miss het smile most of all and her spunky personality. I have often wondered where she wad and if she ever got to go back home. Now I know she is in her forever home and is at peace. Love you Sandy!
Cheryl Lary says
I will miss you my friend. I learned so much from you. Thank you for everything you taught me. RIP Sandy