Featured Resident – Sandy Smith
Sandra Smith was born in Detroit, MI, to Donald and Virginia Sanger. She and her sister, Pam, used to ride bikes and loved to play games with the neighborhood kids included “Three Feet across the Gutter”. She said, “When the street lights came on, you knew you had to go home.” Sandy liked school and in high school, she played basketball and field hockey. She graduated from Osborn High School. Her class was the first to graduate having attended all four years there. She recalls that her class was one that got to help pick the school’s name, colors and mascot.
After high school, Sandy got a job at Chevrolet Engineering doing secretarial work. While working there, she met the man who was responsible for designing the Corvette.
Sandy met Ron Sagaert in high school and they dated for a year or so. Then Ron joined the Navy and went to San Diego working in submarines. They continued to correspond. In a conversation, Ron mentioned that when he came home on leave that they should get married and she could return to San Diego with him. And that’s what happened.
Sandy and Ron married in 1962. She loved San Diego. She tells a story about going to the Palomar Observatory and climbing the ladder to the telescope. As she was climbing up the ladder, wearing a sundress and the wind came up and blew her dress over her head. Another time, Sandy got to go in a submarine and have dinner with Ron. She was amazed with how small it was. Sandy found out she was pregnant and Ron got deployed. Sandy moved in with the pregnant wife of another deployed sailor. Sandy even drove that woman to the hospital when she went into labor with her sixth child. Ron made it back just in time to be there for the birth of their son, David. Ron was discharged in 1963 and they moved back to Detroit.
Ron had trouble finding his niche after the service. Over the next couple of years, they lived in Ypsilanti where he was a Twin Pines milkman; then they moved to Royal Oak where he worked as a fireman before becoming a policeman. They couple divorced in 1965 and Sandy moved back to Detroit to live with her parents.
Sandy enrolled Dave in nursery school and got a job doing secretarial work for a couple of different temp agencies. This eventually led to a better job.
Sandy went bowling with a group of her girlfriends and they ended up meeting some gentlemen. Don Smith and Sandy hit it off, started dating and married about a year later. In 1970, Sandy gave birth to their daughter, Heather and in 1972; they welcomed Holly into their family. Sandy stayed at home with the children until the girls were in school.
Sandy worked at Michigan National Bank. She handled transactions for their commercial customers. She worked there for about five years before getting a job with the City of Warren. Her first two years, she worked for the fire department. In 1988, she transferred to the police department where she worked until she retired in 2003.
Don had a severe stroke in 1995. It left him paralyzed on the right side and unable to speak. Communicating was hard on both of them. They would try to use pictures but often frustration and anger took over. Sandy took care of him at home until 2001. He passed away in 2004 in a nursing home.
Sandy began traveling with a woman she knew from the police department. The two that stand out the most were the trips to Alaska and Hawaii.
Heather moved to Manistique in the Upper Peninsula with her husband. Sandy would go up there to visit. On one such trip, she met Mike. They hit it off and became engaged. Sandy then moved to Manistique. However in 2009, Heather died under suspicious circumstances. This caused Sandy to shut down and ultimately her relationship with Mike ended.
Sandy moved back to Warren, bought a new condo (her aunt was living in her old one) and started traveling again. Her daughter, Holly, moved to Kearney in January 2016 when her husband, Eric, got transferred. Holly’s son, Cameron, moved in with Sandy. Unfortunately, he ended up getting involved with drugs and was arrested. Currently, he is progressing well.
Holly wanted her mom closer and Sandy wanted to be closer to Holly and her family. So while visiting over Christmas in 2016, they looked at some places for Sandy including Westbrook. It took a year for Sandy to sell both the condos, tie up the loose ends and prepare to move.
In March of 2018, Sandy moved to Westbrook Villas. She has a two bedroom apartment which she loves. She can see the sunrise and the sunset with being in a corner apartment at the end of the building. She says the people are all very nice. Even though she misses her pots and pans and dishes, she really likes being able to come down to the dining room and having the food ready to eat. She also enjoys all the activities and is pleased with the variety that is offered. She is thankful for her health and the ability to still help others.
Besides her children, Sandy has three grandsons, two granddaughters and two great grandsons.