Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Looking Back on the Oct. 23rd 2021 Memorial Service for Sandy Stamps

 Looking Back on the Oct. 23rd 2021 Memorial Service for Sandy Stamps


On Saturday, October 23rd, a healthy Harmonizer contingent attended the “Celebration of the life of Sandra Stamps” at the United Methodist Church in Fairfax.  Prior to the service itself, all were treated to a wonderful video of pictures (and captions) of various aspects of Sandy’s life.  Appropriate musical selections accompanied the pictures that were projected on two jumbo screens high on the wall on either side of the altar.

The remembrance service brought together a number of former (and current) Harmonizers we’ve not seen for “years.”  Included were Peggy and Rick Wagner (from Hawaii), Kim and Ken Fess (from Texas), and Nancy and Dick Newton (from Connecticut), just to mention a few. 

The “order of remembrance” included three songs (“Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and “There Must Be a City”) performed up-front in the sanctuary.  It was special to see a number of former members of the performing chorus join the others in song.  The service was uplifting and, as the title suggested, it was clearly a celebration, despite the reason for the gathering.  Between the last two songs, Director Joe stated emphatically and made it perfectly clear that Sandy was as much a Harmonizer as any of the chapter members.

Two other musical groups participated in the service:  the large and talented Bellisimo Handbell Choir and the Fairfax United Methodist Church Chancel Choir.  The service included congregational singing of two hymns:  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” and ”Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart” to powerful harmonizing voices and strong and vibrant organ accompaniment that was punctuated occasionally with some mighty brass “announcements.”  Family reminiscences were brief, fun, thoughtful, informative, well-conceived and well done.  Mick took the opportunity to introduce many of the service events.

Following the service, all in attendance were invited to a reception on the lower floor and outside under a tent in the courtyard.  A wonderful extensive spread of small, prepared sandwiches and other tasty snacks, cookies, lemonade, ice-tea, and a jigger or two of “Moxie” (which is sort of a cousin to Dr. Pepper, et al).  The large fellowship hall offered the milling crowd a great opportunity to greet old friends and get caught up on their lives after an absence of nearly two years.  Moving to the courtyard allowed folks to eat, drink, and meet around small stand-up tables – fortunately, the weather cooperated and added to the celebration.  Those who signed the guest book were invited to select a bottle of wine from the Barrel Oak Winery (where Sandy and Mick had a history of service); each bottle bore a bottle-neck-hanger with a picture of Sandy and the tagline  “Bottled With Love.”

Included in the bulletin was the following summary of Sandra Stamps’ life:

“Sandra Stamps, beloved wife and mother, passed peacefully from this world at the age of 75 on Sunday, April 11, 2021.

“Born to parents Rachel and Burton Bates, she married her husband Floyd (Mick) Stamps in 1977.  With her generous heart, Sandy taught preschool while growing her own family with her step-children, Erik and Amy, and her son, Sean.

“Sandra graduated from Strayer University with a degree in accounting and worked for many years as the first female property damage claims adjuster for State Farm Insurance.

“Full of “Moxie” (a favorite soda of hers from her dear second home of New Hampshire), Sandy was fun-loving and passionate about music and entertaining.  She could often be found performing with her church choir and English handbell ensemble or supporting the Alexandria Harmonizers with her love of a capella music.  But Sandy was equally at home backstage on L.A.’s Sunset Strip (often to the feigned embarrassment of her son).  She was known for her quick wit, compassion, and constant malapropisms.

“Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Rachel and Burton.  She is survived by her husband Floyd, her children Erik, Amy, and Sean, her brothers Tom and David, her grandchildren Sophia and Colin, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.”


Written by Alan Wile, forwarded by Jack Pitzer, submitted by Joe Cerutti


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record for the great things going on each week during the 73rd year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. - YeEd)


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