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Sandra Valorie Pollard

June 26, 1944 January 7, 2017
Sandra Valorie Pollard
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Obituary for Sandra Valorie Pollard

Sandra Valorie Pollard, 72, of Stuart, Iowa passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday, January 7, 2017. A Celebration of Life Open House will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Stuart Library. Memorial contributions may be made to the Stuart Library Foundation Board and may be sent in care of Johnson Family Funeral Home & Crematory – Stuart Chapel. Online condolences may be left at www.johnsonfamilyfuneralhome.com. (Professional Arrangements: Johnson Family Funeral Home & Crematory – Stuart Chapel).

Sandy had an inner light that attracted people like moths. Acquaintances quickly became friends; friends became family; and family was very important to her. She believed having good friends and being a good friend were among her greatest accomplishments.

Sandy’s smiling eyes, impish grin and infectious laugh drew people to her initially, but they stayed because she was a good listener, full of empathy. She listened because she was fascinated by each person’s story, and Sandy loved stories.

Sandy’s own story began dramatically on June 26, 1944. Her father, Valorie Pollard, a World War II pilot from California, was killed in March of 1944 when the plane he was piloting crashed into a mountainside while returning from a bombing mission during bad weather, leaving Treva (nee Glasscock) of Stuart, Iowa, a young widow and expectant mother. When Sandy was three, Treva married Kenneth Vanlandingham, giving Sandy a father and, eventually, a younger brother, Kenny, and sister, Robbin.

Growing up in Stuart gave her a strong sense of belonging. “I felt I knew everybody,” she said. “I felt safe and free at the same time.”

As she grew older, Sandy said, “Every time I met someone with an interesting job, I wanted to do it.” She decided writing would allow her to experience the interesting job without living it, so she resolved to study journalism. She earned bachelors and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Iowa and Drake University, but she sought knowledge and enlightenment throughout her life.

Sandy’s free spirit couldn’t be confined to one profession or one place. She worked as a writer, social worker, waitress, political organizer, graduate assistant, Ph.D candidate, college professor, and librarian. She lived in cities across Iowa, as well as New York, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and Montana. “I always believed I could make a difference wherever I wanted,” she explained, “and then I moved when I got bored.”

Eight years ago, Sandy began the final chapter of her life story when she returned to Stuart to become director of the Stuart Public Library. Anyone that knows Sandy knows that she has a passion for books (evidenced by the boxes and boxes of books in her home). She loved reading books and listening to books on tape.

The library proved the perfect place for Sandy and she was able to make a difference in the lives of Stuart residents. “The right book makes people happy,” she said and added; “as a librarian I can help people find information or a program to help them.” She found that very satisfying. She also enjoyed creating programs for people who didn’t typically visit the library. In 2015 and 2016 Library Journal magazine recognized the Stuart library’s community service by naming it a Star Library. In 2016, only 10 libraries in Iowa and 255 in the nation earned the distinction. Sandy was very proud of this achievement. The library and all the work she did there will be remembered as her legacy.

As a member of the community she loved, surrounded by treasured colleagues, friends and family, Sandy lived happily ever after in Stuart until she lost her short but courageous battle with cancer on January 7, 2017.

Sandy was preceded in death by her mother, Treva Vanlandingham; father, Valorie Pollard; stepfather, Kenneth “Red” Vanlandingham; both sets of maternal and paternal grandparents, and her brother, Kenny Vanlandingham.

She will be dearly missed by her sister Robbin Shumway and partner Harry Bauer; sisters-in-law Nancy Vanlandingham and Sandy Trent; grandchildren Kristopher and Claire; nieces Crystal Hale (Ben), Gayla Shaka, Brooks Klinge, Tawnya Neal (Allen); nephew Austin Vanlandingham and fiancé Tina Stanley; great-nieces Kelcie, Harley, Jayne, Sonya, Miranda, Sydney, Macie, and great-nephews Walker and Dane; her beloved dog Joy; and hundreds of friends.

To send flowers in memory of Sandra Valorie Pollard, visit the Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

14

Jan

2:30 PM 1/14/2017 2:30:00 PM - 4:30 PM 1/14/2017 4:30:00 PM
Stuart Library

111 E. Front St.
Stuart, IA 50250

A Celebration of Life Open House will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Stuart Library.

Stuart Library
111 E. Front St. Stuart 50250 IA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Stuart Library Foundation

PO. Box 246
Stuart, IA 50250
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