Sondra De Pace (née Marino) of Monroe, known fondly to all as Sandra, entered into eternal rest on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the age of 84, after a resilient and courageous fight against Covid-19.
She spent her final years in the care of Schervier Nursing Home in Warwick.
Sandra was born in Ravenswood, Queens, on April 2, 1936, into a big, loving Italian family. She loved to dance and as a young girl was often the dance star of neighborhood block parties, and she and her brother Junior were known as the Mambo King and Queen.
She graduated as class president of Julia Richman High School in New York City. She had a busy working career and went on to work as a Bookkeeping Supervisor at Bulova Watch in Queens, a Telephone Operator in Tuxedo Park, and a Receptionist/Secretary at Furmont Company in Suffern.
Later in life, after raising her children, Sandra was the Parish Secretary at Mt. Carmel Church in Tuxedo.
Sandra met the love of her life, her “Tommy," and it was love at first sight for both. Together, they had two daughters, Angela and Michele, who were her greatest sources of joy.
The family relocated to Monroe in 1970, where Sandra had spent most of her summers growing up. There they created a beautiful life in a cul-de-sac in Lake Sapphire (affectionately known as “The Compound”) alongside Sandra’s two beloved sisters, Fanny and Anna, with whom she shared an indescribable bond.
Tom and Sandra also called Rockport, Massachusetts, home, and spent as much time by the ocean as they could with their friends and neighbors who quickly became family.
Sandra made her home a warm, comforting, and inviting place for all who entered. Chances are, she’d greet you with a cup of coffee and a piece of Entemman’s cake, or if you were lucky, one of the Milano cookies she had stashed away. She was known for her Sunday gravy and her often imitated, never duplicated meatballs. No one hosted a Seven Fish Christmas Eve feast quite like Sandra, which was delicious enough to convert her Irish son-in-law Tim into an Italian. She just loved when her house was full of family, friends, laughter, and music - everything from Dean Martin to Prince.
Sandra exuded warmth and kindness. She was a nurturer and a source of comfort for many. She had a sweet voice, a great sense of humor and could have a mouth like a sailor. Later, though living with Alzheimer’s, Sandra never lost her vivacious and warm spirit. She was still quick to smile, hold your hand when she knew you needed it, and raise her eyebrows when amused. She would light up when her devoted "Tommy" came to see her every single day. He made sure that her hair was always done, and her lipstick was always on - just the way Sandra liked it.
Sandra was a woman of faith and a devout parishioner of St. Anastasia Parish in Harriman. She looked to God as a source of strength during some of life's most difficult moments, including the passing of her 17-year-old daughter Michele, who had Down Syndrome.
Sandra is now at home in heaven with her cherished daughter Michele and her loving parents Angelina and Pasquale Marino. She is also predeceased by her sisters Philomena (Fanny) Conti and Anna Calderale, and dear brothers Frank and Pasquale (Junior).
Sandra is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Tom; her cherished daughter Angela and her husband Tim Mertens of Monroe, granddaughters Michele and Jessica, and Michele’s husband Chris Ludlow. Sandra was so proud of "her girls" and as they grew, she became their confidant and was always their biggest cheerleader; never missing school concerts, softball games and dance recitals.
She is also survived by her oldest brother Vincent (Sonny) and his wife Viola of Monroe, as well as her sister-in-law Mary Marino. Survivors also include many nieces and nephews that she loved deeply, including her niece-turned-dear friend Marylyn Vanderpool and Sweet Patricia Calderale, with whom she shared a special relationship.
If you knew Sandra, you loved her!
Sandra’s family would like to express our thanks for the loving care that she received from the nursing and recreation staff at Schervier Pavilion.
Due to current restrictions, a private burial will be held at St. Anastasia Cemetery.
A celebration of her life will take place when we can all gather together and raise a Gin and Tonic to offer her the toast she deserves.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Anastasia Church in Harriman, NY.
Arrangements by Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home (845-782-8185; www.ssqfuneralhome.com).