Sandra “Sandy” J. Watters, 74, of Duluth, died peacefully Sunday, Dec. 25th at Essentia St. Mary’s, with her family by her side. A two-time cancer survivor, Sandy was adamant that she would not die of cancer, and she was right (as she usually was) – ultimately her body was unable to beat Covid-19.
Sandy was born Nov. 17, 1948, in Duluth to Stanley and Audrey Franckowiak. She embraced the role of oldest daughter, taking on anything that was expected or asked of her without fear or hesitation. As a child she could often be found alongside her family working at her grandparents’ store and tavern, the Normanna Inn. She was a doer and liked to make lists, much to the chagrin of her daughters who woke up to the dreaded to-do list every Saturday morning.
Sandy graduated from Duluth Central High School and earned a degree in Teaching at UMD. She dedicated her life to children, first teaching at Park Point School, and after taking off time to raise her daughters, teaching 5th grade at St. John’s School for 28 years, specializing in Social Studies. She was a beloved teacher, always available to her students and focused on creating meaningful experiences for them. She taught her students to observe intently, think critically and believe there was nothing they couldn’t do.
To support herself through college Sandy worked at Falk’s Pharmacy in Woodland. She never lost the large bicep she developed from scooping ice cream at the soda fountain for so many years and never forgave herself for accidentally dumping an entire milkshake in a woman’s purse. Sandy (the introvert) was convinced that she would never marry, but a mutual friend introduced her to her future husband, Pat Watters (the extrovert), saying he thought they’d be good together - they were married on July 26, 1969. Even after 53 years of marriage, she referred to Pat as her perfect partner, often explaining that certainly no one else would be able to put up with her.
She had great faith, being a life-long member of St. John’s Church where she was baptized, married, and now laid to rest. She enjoyed having coffee with the retirees from St. John’s. Her quilting and sewing room was her happy place. She loved to bake, garden, read and shop, but most of all, Sandy loved being around her family, especially her grandchildren who often went to Grandma’s to create master pieces through arts and crafts .
She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley and Audrey Franckowiak; in-laws, LaVerne and Ruby Watters, and her brother-in-law, Bill Walsh.
Sandy is survived by the love of her life, Pat; daughters, Amy Watters, and Jennifer Watters; grandchildren, Juniper and Finn Hansen; siblings, Mary Jo (Jerry) Lapcinski and Sharon Walsh; several nieces and nephews, and many cousins and friends. She will be greatly missed. Candidates for her replacement as matriarch of the family are currently under consideration.
A very special thank you to the caregivers and staff at the Essentia ICU, Masonic Cancer Center (Dr. Desai), and Essentia Health Cancer Center (Dr. Kebbecus) who were always kind, empathetic and honest.
Visitation will be Sunday, Jan. 8th from 3-6pm at St. John’s Church, 4230 St. John’s Ave. Duluth, MN, where visitation will continue Monday, Jan. 9th from 10am to the 11am Mass of Christian Burial. Sign the online register book at, www.dfhduluth.com. Arrangements by, Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd St. Duluth, MN, (218) 727-3555.