Obituary of Sandra Umbach
With great sadness and heavy hearts, we say good-bye to our loving wife, mom, grandma, sister, aunt and friend to so very many Sandra Umbach.
Sandra, a lifelong resident of Dawson Creek, BC, and area, passed away suddenly with her family by her side in Edmonton, AB, on Sunday December 29, 2019, at the age of 57 years.
It is said that those who touch our lives, inspire us, and love us, and that this love remains. Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Edward and Emily Friesen. Sandra is predeceased by her beloved parents Edward and Emily, her brother Victor, her brother in-law Darryl Greenough and his son Jaimie, and her Father and Mother in-law Ken and Jean Umbach.
Sandra’s story began after her parents and older siblings moved from Manitoba to Dawson Creek in the early 1960s. Shortly after the family arrived in Dawson Creek their mom Emily was in her 8th pregnancy. It was confirmed that she was going to have twins. On July 24th, 1962 in the early morning hours Cindy Lee was born and just 3 minutes later was joined by her twin sister Sandra officially gaining them the title as the first identical twins born at the Dawson Creek Hospital. Sandra gained the title as the ‘baby of the family’ as well. Both were healthy babies weighing almost 6 lbs a piece and their birth was rejoiced and celebrated by all the family, everyone loved the babies.
Donna remembers being her mom’s second arm and legs as she would chase after one child while their mom chased after the other. Sister Joan was especially helpful and lovingly stepped in as a bit of a second mother to these beautiful baby girls
Thereafter the family moved to Silver Valley AB, despite lacking some of the necessities Sandra grew up in a home that protected and loved her. As a child, Sandra sparkled and lit up the world around her. She was full of curiosity and forged a deep love of animals that she carried throughout her life. Sandra would fondly recall being chased around the yard by vicious roosters and trying to dress our little red hens into play clothes.
Sandra and Cindy passionately and earnestly copied words from items on the kitchen table as they learned to read and write. These words were lovingly sent in letters to their older siblings who were away at School in Bryn Athen. They were gone for a year at a time and this seemed unfathomable for a young child who loved and cherished her older siblings.
Sandra was raised by a father who valued his sons and daughters and ensured the kids had more than he had received as a child. Sandra’s mother was the most gracious, warm, loving and kind mother and grandmother and She embodied what it meant to be good just for the sake of being good. Sandra’s values emulated her mother’s as she became a wife, mother, and grandmother herself.
At the age of 15 Sandra met a very handsome young man who eventually became her husband and the father of her children. Dan was smitten when he first saw her and asked Cindy to introduce them. On one of their first dates, Dan took her to the drive in to see the movie Grease. While the characters Danny & Sandra fell in love on screen, she and Dan fell in love off-screen.
Sandra could not wait to marry Dan, and just two days after her 18th birthday on July 26, 1980 they were wed.
In the book Conjugial love, it is said that true married love is not necessarily separated through death. A man and wife meet after death and may choose to remain together in Heaven.
This thought resonates for many of us who have had the pleasure to witness the love that Dan and Sandra shared. Dan said that Sandra was his lifelong love and it was evident that Sandra loved and adored Dan as well.
On their very first wedding anniversary Dan gifted his beloved wife Sandra with a red rose as a symbol of his love as well as a white rose as a promise of their commitment. It became a tradition that Dan continued adding a red rose for each year of marriage, and on July 26, 2019 thirty- nine beautiful red roses cascaded around the single white flower.
When Sandra and Dan danced together, they moved in perfect unison. Flowing through the swings and turns they danced as one, it was an amazing site to behold. It was evident that they loved dancing together and the way they moved together in dance appeared symbolic of how they spent their life together.
After a brief stint as newlyweds in Red Deer, Dan and Sandra settled in Bonanza on their family farm and remained there for most of their married life. While Sandra took a huge amount of pride in maintaining a clean orderly home she also loved getting out and enjoying life. Whether it was hanging out with her best friend and twin sister and husband Grant, attending community dances or watching Dan play hockey, she was always the fun crowd.
Sandra dreamed of being a mother and finally On September 4th, 1984 their first child Tyrell was born. Sandra and Dan were overjoyed and couldn’t wait to add to their family as Shalako was born only two years later on June 9th, 1986. Sandra felt her family was complete with her two boys that gave her a run for her money. However, fate had other plans as both Cindy and Sandra found themselves unexpectedly expectant at the same time. True to the twin connection, Sandra woke in the middle of the night knowing she had to rush to her sister’s bedside while Cindy delivered her only son.
Only 26 days later, on October 10, 1989 Sandra and Dan’s last child and only daughter Danielle was born and completed the family. Danielle inherited Sandra’s previous title as baby of the large extended family, and Sandra found a connection that she never knew how much she needed.
Sandra opened her door to those who needed a cup of coffee with an ear to listen or just a warm meal with good company. There was always room for one more at her dinner table even if that meant offering up her own chair while she stood at the kitchen counter to eat. No matter what the occasion or how many people showed up Sandra made mountains of food and would often remind everyone that she didn’t want leftovers. Sandra’s laughter was contagious, and we will always be remembered and missed.
Her love of animals was evident, she gave all the pets a special nickname and would speak to them in her own unique animal language ‘Cat-a-neese. Each of her pets whether a cat, dog, duck, horse, or cow contributed to her joy in life. No doubt her little doggy Chewy is mourning his mommy now.
Sandra was a hard worker, whether she was cleaning the house, chasing after the kids, doing the books for the business or working outdoors she was always on the move. After Sandra raised her family she trained as an emergency Medical Responder and continued to have a positive impact on the lives that she touched, whether personal or professional. She put her heart and soul into being the best medic and Heart and Stroke Instructor that she could be.
Words cannot possibly define the role she played in the life of her children and all that she loved. To her daughter Danielle she was so much more than a mother - she was her best friend, her sister, her confidante and her number one fan and biggest supporter to her beautiful family.
When the kids would sleep over at Sandra and Dan’s, they would usually kick grandpa out of the bed so that all three could curl up with Grandma. Danielle shared that her mom was never too busy to lend a helping hand.
She helped her with everything that required a grandma pitching in …but she was like that with everyone. She was a giver, always more comfortable giving than taking, Sandra sang all day and it was like being in a musical when you would spend the day with her, and her voice was beautiful.
To her sons, Tyrell and Shalako, she was an unwavering pillar of support, a confidante, a friend and their greatest cheerleader. No matter how big of a problem a person was going through she was always there to help.
One of the greatest gifts that Sandra gave her children was to extend all the love she held for her children to their spouses. - We are confident that Ty never felt anything less than her son, or Mandy any less than her daughter. Sandra was just starting to get to know Tyrell’s fiancé Cherine, and we know that she was creating a special place in her heart for her as well. Sandra also extended her love to her sister in law Gail Umbach and to her many nieces and nephews.
Nothing gave Sandra more joy than becoming a grandmother, she was a grandmother to: Madison, Amiya, Mackenzie, Kolby, Shiloh and Quinn. She was, an ever-present figure in their lives dancing with them, cheering them on, cuddling them, loving them with everything she had. There was literally no mountain that she could not move to make their lives better.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Sandra was the center of her family’s village. She meant the world to her Husband, children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, nieces and nephews and really to anyone that got to know her.
Granddaughter Maddison remembers grandma sitting by her fireplace in her big chair wrapped up in her bath robe and blankets always letting her crawl onto her lap for cuddles.
Kenzie shared that when she had a sleep over with Emmy and Amiya; Grandma came running in and started to dance along with the girls who were playing Just Dance.
Grandmas arms were always open and ready for a hug when her grandkids or kids needed one and they were the tightest most emotional filled hugs, you could feel her strength and love.
To her twin Cindy, Sandra was much more than any of us can comprehend. As identical twins they are as close as two people can be, they even share DNA. Every morning started with a phone call and every day would end the same. They did virtually everything together, from raising their families, vacations to camping, they were inseparable duo, a family unit, or as a foursome with Grant and Dan you would rarely get one without the other.
Their sister Donna who is just 2 years older, can attest that at an early age they often spoke in unison, and that they would talk to each other in their sleep. Later, as they prepared large family dinners and at the café they were in sync as they cooked. The twins were inseparable.
Cindy and Sandra’s children and grandchildren were very well integrated into a community of family. I know that Jill, Kim, and Lucas hold Sandra, their second mother, very close in their hearts. Auntie Sandra was often known to her many great nieces and nephew as Greatest Auntie Sandra, and she was the Greatest Auntie in the Whole Universe.
Cindy will carry Sandra’s love with her as long as she lives and in whatever she does.
To her siblings Shirley, Edell, Joan, Patricia, Randy and Donna, Sandra will always be their baby sister with the most amazing laugh and that she was a beacon of love and support.
As we are going through the process of assimilating our life without Sandra physically in it, we pray that Dan, and her children continue to hear her voice in their head…..“keep your chin up, put one foot in front of the other, and take one step at a time as they move forward.
As a family we are committed to showering them with unconditional love and care, Sandra was loved and adored by all of us and we will continue to carry her love with us.
On December 29th Sandra passed from this world peacefully, surrounded by family and with her baby girl tucked in her bedside. If absolute love and pure desperation could have brought her back to us, she would still be here.
We were extremely blessed to have had this beautiful, loving, kind, giving, and joyful wife, mother, Grandmother, sister, and auntie in our lives. We only wish it could have been longer and we will love this beautiful woman forever.
I would like to end with one of Sandra’s favorite Quotes:
“When all the dust is settled, and all the crowds are gone the things that matter are faith, family and friends”.
Eulogy written by Chad Johannsen (married to Sandra’s niece, Megan).
A Memorial service was held for Sandra on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 1:00 PM from Reynars Funeral Chapel. Reverend Coleman Glenn officiated. Interment will be at a later date.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Sandra to the Juvenile Arthritis Society for Maddie’s Run at the below website.
Sandra loved well and was well loved. She will be deeply missed by so many.
Very respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium.
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