She…was…loud. But not just verbally, no. Loud, as in resounding. Her voice, her laughter- she echoed and filled whatever space she was in. That includes our minds, memories and hearts. She was loud when laughing, loud when joking, loud when singing, loud when just talking right next to you, loud about her vote, loud about her Lord, loud cheering during your sporting events, loud behind the plate on her old co-ed softball team (“-hey batter, batter SWIIIIIING!!!”), loud watching you graduate, loud dipping her Cheetos in ketchup and crunching away drowning out the sounds of Little House on the Prairie. But most importantly, she was loud in how she loved us all. Always with the bear hug, always with the loud grunts. She’d pick you up and swing you, if she could. Break your back, even, if you’re just a weak, little sissy that is. There were hugs, and then there were HER hugs.
She was Sandra Kay, and boy, she’d be the first to tell you just how “precious” she was.
On April 4th, 1958, Paul and Patricia Dennis had their first child, Sandra Kay. Early on, Sandy took after her army vet, construction working daddy by acquiring his tough exterior and becoming more of a tomboy. And oh how she loved it when someone told her that she was just like her dad. But like her Momma, she also faithfully attended church and gave Jesus Christ a permanent home in her little heart at a young age.
She didn’t get to hog the spotlight long, as she was soon joined by a brother & sister, Bruce & Nedra. Well, like her dad, Sandy could be an antagonist- like the times she would pinch Bruce and then just raise her eyebrows and ask him “Well, what are ya gonna do about it, sissy boy?” One time, she got him to cry in front of his friends just by repeating “Are you gonna cry? Looks like you’re gonna cry.” He would eventually get her back later by goosing her and running away- she could never catch him! Then there was her little sister Nedra and her silly rock collection and her dolls. Well, Sandy called them “sissy frou-frou,” so in the trash they went. Later in their teen years, Sandy would be riding her bike around town and happen to catch Nedra smoking cigarettes with her friends. Sandy would gleefully speed away towards home yelling behind her “I’m telling Moooom! I’m telling Mooooom!” But this is also the same big sister that frantically ran up and down alleys looking for her little sister yelling “Neeeeeedra, NEEEEEEDraaaa,” who had wandered off as a toddler.
Young Sandy was rough with her siblings, but nobody else better be. Once, some fellow students had cornered Bruce in the middle of the Foot Bridge next to Manual High School and were threatening to toss him over the rail into the creek below. Upon seeing this, Sandy hollered, threw her bookbag aside and barreled into the mob of jocks! She lifted her twig of a brother up on her shoulders and plowed their way across to safety. Even though he wanted to crumble in embarrassment, he knew that his big sissy always had his back. That was Sandy.
It didn’t help the fact that Paul was always there to egg Sandy on. And how she loved being his accomplice! But when things got out of hand and Patty had to grab the broom to lay down the law, Sandy always respectfully obliged. Sandy grew up prioritizing God, honesty, family, playfulness…and fish hooks. But we’ll get to those later.
God further softened his (dare-I-say) most rambunctious creation when he blessed Sandy with children- two beautiful daughters, Paula & Tanya. She raised them the same as she was raised: praising God & not putting up with crap. She was active with their youth sports and you sure didn’t need a truck horn for their team during the parades when you had their Mom’s mouth! She taught her daughters “hockey happens”, to dust off and get up, to forget playing dress-up and grab your baseball mitt! They were raised with less fear than most children, knowing that they had both a Momma Bear to protect them and an invincible Father above to guide them. But ohhhh how they ran when they earned their little selves a whipping and knew it was coming! She was strict, but she was loving. Sandy met Jeff Bledsoe and his two daughters, Samantha & Joni and the two families merged. Not too long after that Sandy & Jeff were married and had their only child together, Jeff, Jr.
She would take the kids, nieces, nephews, cousins, or anyone else that wanted to have fun with her on her paper route, letting them toss the papers and thumping them with a rolled paper if their aim was off…see how she cared about proper form? She would ask the kids how to spell random words in the dictionary and thump them with a mini-baseball bat if they spelled them wrong…see how she cared about schooling? Sandy & the kids would play Blind Man’s Bluff in the dark, knocking stuff over and bumping into each other, trying to laugh quietly so they weren’t tagged.
They would stay up all night drawing together, with her giving them ideas and providing all the paper and colored pencils they could need! She would let the kids paint on her doors, eat all of her chicken patties and take them sledding (no matter the No Trespassing sign). She would take the kids out on the golf cart driving around the golf courses until they got kicked off. She would often take the kids out on deserted, country roads, pull over, adjust her seat back away from the wheel and then let them sit on her lap and steer. When we got old enough to reach the pedals, she would let us drive on our own up & down the empty roads, just like her dad did with her. She often said that she would never grow up. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18: 4-5.
When her grandkids came along, she was always encouraging their creativity by doing crafts together, cooking and being the loudest fan in the stands- you always knew who she was rooting for, even when it was embarrassing! Sometimes, she would grab you and gnaw on your ear just to make you squirm, demanding that you say “mercy-asa!” and “I love my Grandma Sandy” before releasing you. Then she’d take you out for a bite to eat & maybe do some Chinese fire drills along the way. That was Sandy.
Anyone that knew Sandy, knew that she loved her family, and often expressed her love by being rough with us. She loved her duct tape, barrels, Indian burns, face rubs, pressure points, racing stripes (before school picture day…thanks!), and her patented fish hooks. She loved pranks and the game Va-Va Voom-Voom (if you have to ask what that is, we’ll happily show you later). That was Sandy.
Sandy deeply loved her family, and at every church service she requested prayer for them and her unsaved loved ones. She was an honest person, sometimes TOO honest, but she always told the truth, like the Bible says. She respected her parents, like the Bible says. She loved and provided for her children, like the Bible says. She was prevalent in arranging family reunions as she loved seeing us all together. Family event? Just say when and she’d be there with fifteen cameras around her neck, ten tripods and pockets overflowing with SD cards. She was always your biggest fan. Her extensive photo albums and her work in genealogy was, really, rooted in her love of family. Memories mattered to her; she seen that they were worth preserving.
If I’m going on too long here, and you want me to wrap up, well, she’d tell you to “Want in one hand and…you know what, in the other. See which gets filled up first.”
Her smile was big and real, even when she was cheesing. Her laugh was emphatic and contagious, often until she was red in the face and wiping real tears. She was resilient and bold, fearlessly blazing her own trail through life. Her spirit was virtuous and she stuck to her guns. She knew someone everywhere she went and if she didn’t know you, you were about to know her! She was a leader to others and a follower of Christ. She really was “Special” K.
God forgets no service and hears all prayers. Sandy’s prayers to end her earthly journey and come finally to her Heavenly home were answered Saturday, September 26th, 2020. There, she was first greeted by our Heavenly Father (I truly hope she didn’t goose our Creator). Next, when that embrace ended, she looked up to see her husband Jeff, Sr. holding out his arms for her. Then, over his broad shoulders sprouting angel wings were her awaiting parents: Paul & Patty, smiling wide. The others come after- her long line of family, descendants, and fellow children of God all there to embrace her. And it is in Heaven where she now awaits us, sticking out her tongue at us from her own, fluffy cloud, saying “nana-nana-boo-boo, I made it before you.”
Sandy awaits her children: Paula Gross (and her husband, Christopher); Tanya Mobley (and her husband, Rusty); Samantha Fitzgerald; Joni Griffith; Jeff Bledsoe, Jr. (and his wife, Sandhya). Her Grandchildren Lexandra (or “Grandma’s Girl”) & Louis Mobley (her “punk”); Xavier Fitzgerald; Kaleb, Jacob & Lukas Griffith & Ryleigh Tash; and Isabelle Bledsoe. Sanzy Cakes awaits her siblings: her brother Bruce Dennis (and his wife, Linda); sister Nedra Gentry (and her husband, Scott). Beyond that, she awaits a slew of nieces, nephews, cousins, and a long line of dumb punk kids, maggots, chump-changes and snot-nosed lip-lovers. All of whom love and will miss her dearly.
Family, friends & those touched by the boisterous life of Sandy are welcome to join her family in visitation Friday, October 2nd, 2020, from 4:00pm-8:00pm at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, 925 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227. The following day, Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 beginning at 11:00am, Brother J.C. Phillips will officiate funeral services at Wesleyan Christian Church (725 E. Iowa Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203). Following the funeral service, a procession will lead to a graveside service at Washington Park East Cemetery (10612 E Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46229). Family & friends are invited for food & fellowship back at Wesleyan Christian Church in the Brown House following the graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Sandy’s wishes that any memorial contributions be made to the Wesleyan Christian Church (725 E. Iowa Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203).
Thank you for your continued prayers, and “you all have syphilis.”