Debra J. Sandy - Our smart, loving, and compassionate sister, aunt, and dear friend - died unexpectedly at home in Madison, WI October 9, 2020.
Debra was born December 17, 1952 in Marinette, WI. The first child and the first grandchild, she was part of the big extended Meyers family centered in Marinette and Menominee. During her school-age years, she grew up in the Flint, MI house of her mother and step-father. She graduated from Southwestern Community High School in Flint in 1971, and from Flint’s Hurley Hospital School of Nursing in 1974.
Debra was a passionate nurse as she cared for patients and their families during her lifelong career as an RN. She was a good listener, and people enjoyed talking with her. Debra began her nursing career at the VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, MI. She worked for many years at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay - first in the Med/Surg ICU, then as assistant head nurse for the oncology unit. In 1987, Debra moved to Madison, where she went to work for the UW Hospital’s General Clinical Research Center/GCRC (now the Clinical Research Unit/CRU). Her work at UW focused on aging and health research, and on conducting phase I studies of new drugs to help fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. She retired in 2014.
Debra enjoyed reading fiction, working NY Times crossword puzzles, and listening to jazz. She was an impeccable cross-stitcher and knitter. She was a devoted fan of Jeopardy! Debra loved socializing and sharing ideas after reading a good book, attending a concert, or going to a play or movie. She cared deeply for her family, friends, and colleagues - and often enjoyed dinner with them at Madison’s many fine restaurants. Debra’s brothers and her niece, Ashley, were especially important to her.
Debra is survived by her brothers Scott McCormick (Portland, OR), Allen Sandy (Austin, TX), Chris Sandy (Duluth, MN), and Michael Sandy (Oconomowoc, WI); by her niece Ashley Hirsch (Milwaukee, WI); and by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and colleagues. She was preceded in death by her father (William Sandy), her mother (Beverly (Meyers) McCormick), her step-father (William McCormick Sr.), two brothers (Richard McCormick and David Bernstein), and two step-brothers (Robert McCormick and William McCormick Jr.).
Debra radiated love, kindness, understanding, fairness and healing. Her wonderful smile will be dearly missed.
A memorial will be held in the future when it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Debra’s name to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, or to the Madison Public Library Foundation.
I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.
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