CALVERT, SANDRA J (McNEILL) ,aged 84, of Plano, TX passed away on Thursday, August 6, 2020.
Born December 11, 1935, in Carterville, IL to Louie and Flora “Flo” (Taylor) McNeill, Sandra graduated from Carterville High School, earned a scholarship to, and attended Cook County School of Nursing in Chicago, IL where she was awarded her diploma as a Graduate Nurse (soon earning her RN designation) in 1956. She returned to Southern Illinois and worked at the Herrin, IL hospital.
Sandra married William (Bill) Calvert, also of Carterville, IL on October 8, 1957, when they eloped to Corinth, MS. They began their marriage in Tuscola, IL and started adding to their family. Having three children within four years led to their agreement that whoever was the first to say they changed their minds about the marriage would have to take the children – an agreement that held strong for 63 years, two more children, six grandchildren and six moves.
Soon, with five children to raise, Sandra became a “housewife”. This led her to a variety of PTA and “neighborhood nurse” roles culminating after nineteen years in well-earned time to spend adventuring with her best friend, Jean Blaze, once all kids were in school all day. Sandra ran a tight ship as the household commandant – all children were trained early to pull their part in keeping the house tidy. This allowed Sandra to put the finishing touches on each home so it became a source of pride for the entire family. She was an outstanding cook – accused by her mother-in-law of “making Bill fat”, she prepared a hot breakfast and dinner for her family most days for over thirty years. She enjoyed crossword puzzles and essay contests – winning a nation-wide Ethan Allen contest and awarded a full master suite make-over. Sandra was a role-model – a gracious and generous host and independent thinker. As children, the Calvert kids returned from school each day to a clean home, aromas wafting from the kitchen and Mom, reading a book (with Eddie Arnold on the turntable) – they thought “that” (reading) was what adults “did”. She was demanding of her daughters and doted on her “boys” – becoming best friends with all in adulthood. Although firm and strict, she was never mean; but her kids “feared” her more than their dad as he had announced that Mom ruled the house and all those residing within (“this is a democracy – we all get a vote, except your mother – she gets seven”). Her grandchildren, however, experienced a softer version of Sandra. Amid warnings by their parents to “watch out – she’ll turn on you”, she remained consistently the greatest grandma in the world – always sympathetic, patient (Maggie chose her to be her driving teacher) and generous with gifts and praise (she particularly delighted in her own kids’ frustrations with parenthood).
Sandra was a member of St. James Presbyterian Church in LaPorte, TX where she served as an Elder and on Social Justice committees in the Gulf Coast Presbytery. She was a member of West Plano Presbyterian Church (“WPPC) for over 45 years serving as an Elder, teacher of the New Member class, and Property Committee chairperson after construction of the current building. She also worked with the Grace Presbytery (Presbyterian Church USA) serving on several committees and was a Commissioner to the General Assembly in 1984. She was devoted to her Church and amazed and thankful for God’s Grace.
Sandra preceded her devoted husband, William (Bill) Calvert, in death by 10 months and was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, and sister. She is survived by her five children, Mark (Paula) Calvert of Grand Prairie, TX, daughter Betsy Calvert-Corlew of Plano, TX, son Matthew Calvert of Dallas, daughter Cara (Chris) Anderson of Frisco, TX, and son Andrew Calvert of Plano, TX; as well as her six grandchildren, Courtney (Brandon) Lee of Grand Prairie, TX, Bailey Anderson of Frisco, TX, Herb Corlew of Conroe, TX, Maggie Corlew of Galesburg, IL, Jon Anderson of Frisco, TX and Kelly Calvert of Lynnwood, WA. She is also survived by her “favorite” brother-in-law, Charles (Mary) Choate of Springfield, IL, and nine nephews and nieces and extended family who remember her fondly.
A memorial service in conjunction with that of her husband’s is scheduled at 1:00pm, September 25, 2021, at West Plano Presbyterian Church (2709 Custer Rd. Plano, TX 75075). Please consider a donation to West Plano Presbyterian Church’s Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers.
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