Sandra Lynn “Sandy” Nilson passed away Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.
She was born June 27, 1939, in Moscow, to Nils Martinious Nilson and Gladys E. Johnson Nilson, of Troy. In 1945, the family purchased a home in Pullman. Sandy graduated from Pullman High School in 1957 and went on to study at Kinman Business School in Spokane.
Following her education, she worked in Spokane and lived at the Isabella Girls Club. When her mother became ill with cancer in the late ’60s, she returned to Pullman and lived at the family home to be close to her mom and dad. Sandy went to work for Washington State University Duplicating and Mailing in 1969 as an accounting clerk. She later became an accounting assistant in the WSU Controller’s office. She remained there until she retired in 2001. She also worked for a short time as the city clerk for the town of Albion.
In 1973, Sandy moved to Albion to be near her brother, Nils Antone “Tony” Nilson, and his family. It was then that she became “AUNT SANDY.” Tony and his wife, Phyllis, had two children, Nils Lancer “Lance” Nilson and Tami L. Nilson-Stanton. Aunt Sandy lived next door and became Mom No. 2. This family unit did almost everything together, and Lance and Tami adored her. Early on, Sandy had a color TV (we did not) so Lance would go to her house (with his fireman’s hat and all of his firetrucks) to watch his favorite TV show, “Emergency,” in color. She taught Tami how to crochet and Tami won her first blue ribbon at the fair at age 5 for a pillow she crocheted. Sandy was an amazing and talented seamstress and crafter. Everything was perfect. Her handmade Christmas ornaments were especially appreciated. She also was a master cookie baker. We all enjoyed that.
Growing up, Sandy’s family did a lot of camping with extended family. Her parents came from large families so there were always aunts, uncles and cousins around. She was especially close to her late Aunt Mattie and Uncle Sam Olson, of Deary. Camping at Little Goose Campground near Lowell, Idaho, was the go-to place for all of them.
Her mother passed at age 50 in 1970 and her father three years later. It was then that she continued to vacation and camp with Tony’s family and Phyllis’ mom and dad. One of her special trips was to Hawaii with all of them in 1984. Other trips (always with our RVs) to Disneyland, Canada, and several trips to Wallowa Lake, in Oregon, were great family fun also.
In 2018, Sandy moved to Regency Assisted Living. She enjoyed her time there and was well looked after by its amazing staff. We thank them with all of our hearts for the loving care they gave. She was in and out of Avalon Care Center for many years following surgeries and we want to thank them also for their care. Sandy spent her final few weeks at Avalon and they have been so kind in caring for her and for us, her family. We also thank Kindred Hospice for being a part of her final care team.
Sandy never married. She valued her independence and wasn’t sure she wanted to give any of that up. She became AUNT SANDY and that was the most precious title to her. She also was Aunt Sandy to a stepnephew, to his wife and children, and several of Lance and Tami’s friends. Upon hearing of Sandy’s passing, one of these friends said: “To me, she will always be AUNT SANDY.” Sandy also was Mom to her late cats Woody and Alley. Her surviving kitty, Snap, now lives with “Aunt Donna” in Spokane.
Sandy was a woman of faith and was ready to go home ... and she did. We’re sure that besides all her human family and God, she is with her kitty children.
Sandy is survived by her brother, Nils Tony Nilson (Phyllis); her nephew, Nils Lancer Nilson (Kim), their children, Nils Tyler and Trenton Anders Nilson, of Spokane; niece Tami L. Nilson-Stanton (Eric), of Oroville, Wash.; stepnephew Sam Weigand (Terri), their children, Beth Weigand-Rauch (Andrew) and Joe Weigand (Sara); and Robert Varner, of Emmett, Idaho. She is also survived by “our sister,” Donna Overland, of Spokane, and special friends Linette and Alan Roberts, of Moscow, and Judy Dawson, of Albion.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Gladys (1970), and her father, Nils (1973); also by Phyllis’ parents, Glen (1999) and Ida (2003) Mathison; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Because of COVID-19, there will be a private viewing and burial Wednesday with interment next to her parents in the Sunset Gardens Cemetery, Moscow.
The family requests no flowers but instead donations to the Humane Society of your choice or charity of your choice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow and condolences may be left at shortsfuneralchapel.com.