Sandra Bolton

Sandra Bolton

Sandra Bolton

North Liberty

On Sept. 7, 2023, Sandra Bolton went to meet her maker and thank her for the wonderful experiences she’d enjoyed on Earth before joining the other stars twinkling in the heavens.

Sandra would jokingly declare 1935 was a good year for America. Elvis Presley was born, The Social Security Act was signed into law and on March 9, William and Mary (Streeter) Francoise welcomed the birth of their third child, Sandra Lee, the baby of the family.

As a young woman growing up in Kalamazoo, Mich., Sandra met and married Harry George Bolton. They eventually parted ways but not before they produced and raised six children, Harry Jr. (Christine, deceased), Terry (Ellen), Bruce, Mary, Alice and John (Rebecca). She was also blessed with eight grandchildren, Harry III, Aliyah, Alex (Lauren), Ryan, Tyler, Michelle (TJ), Nicole (Matt) and Jennifer; and six great-grandchildren, Blair, Taren, Declan, Owen, Brooklyn and Zander.

2020 Birthday Limerick:

There still is a Mother named Sandra

Be smart and be good is her mantra

She worked and she prayed

Her focus ne’er strayed

Now her kids are surely upstanda!

Besides family, Sandra’s other great love was teaching. With dedication and determination (all while raising six children), Sandra earned her B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1968 and M.A. in 1970. That same year Sandra began her teaching career at Mount Vernon High School as an English teacher where she taught all high school levels until moving on in 1984.

Sandra spent a year at Iowa State University, first semester teaching freshman composition and the second semester supervising student teachers in a program designed to connect secondary schools with Iowa universities. Back at the University of Iowa in 1985, she worked towards her Ph.D. in English education while teaching rhetoric classes and through 1992 taught summer classes for the Iowa Writing Project. In 1985 and 1986 Sandra served as president of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English and in 1991 she received their Distinguished Service Award. Sandra also completed work on her Ph.D. to the point of ABD (all but dissertation).

She then took a break from the college scene to spend a decade at ACT as a language specialist where her department worked with classrooms around the United States developing portfolios and helped train raters to assess those portfolios. While at ACT Sandra gave numerous presentations at conferences of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of English and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. In 2000 she also gave a presentation to English teachers in Japan.

In 2004 Sandra returned to the classroom teaching various composition classes at Kirkwood Community College, before retiring in 2019. Sandra served terms on the boards of the North Liberty Community Library and Friends of International Students, was a leader in her church community and maintained an active interest in whatever was happening politically around the country. She also has been honored at the Plaza of Heroines at Iowa State University. A bio of her accomplishments can be found online and an inscribed brick will be placed in her honor in Spring 2024.

Sandra stayed busy in retirement visiting family and friends (she will be sorely missed by Caryl on Oscar and Election nights!) and often cooked and shared Sunday dinner with her local kids. She also travelled to her eldest grandson’s wedding (Arizona), her youngest grandson’s 5th birthday (Minnesota) and to meet her youngest great-granddaughter shortly after her birth (back to Arizona). In 2020 and 2021, she joined her fishing obsessed “youngsters” at resorts in Wisconsin and Minnesota for weeklong parties of fishing, laughing, storytelling, singing and feasting. Her deviled eggs are now legendary to that fortunate group.

Sandra’s kindness, generosity, intelligence and dedication to all educational pursuits were felt by all who knew her. She’s a shining example of what Geoffrey Chaucer once wrote: “And gladly would (s)he learn and gladly teach.”

Sandra was preceded in death by her parents; siblings; and daughter-in-law, Christine.

Pursuant to Sandra’s request that there be no funeral, her kids are planning a Celebration of Life on Nov. 11, 2023, place and time still being decided. Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service is assisting the family.

Sandra also gave regularly to many organizations, a few being: Habitat for Humanity, The Audubon Society, The Salvation Army, ACLU and Sierra Club. In lieu of flowers, Sandra’s family suggests a donation to one of these (or your favorite charity) would always be greatly appreciated.

Special thank-you to The Bird House for all their love, care and assistance given to Sandra during her final months.

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