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Sandy Blakeslee, age73, passed from this life in the early morning hours of Friday, December 29th, 2023 with her spouse of 49 years, Linda Finelli, by her side, at their home in Lebanon, CT.
Born December 7th, 1950, to the late Jonica and Russell Blakeslee, she was a 1968 graduate of Lyman Memorial High School and a lifelong Lebanon resident.
Her commitment to community was found in her volunteer efforts with The Lebanon Historical Society, singing in the Lebanon Community Chorus, and being a proud member of The First Baptist Church of Lebanon. In 1995, along with her good friend Kim, she participated in The Northeast AIDS Ride (now known as Cycle for the Cause) :a 3 day bike ride from Boston to New York City to raise funds for the ongoing fight against AIDS.
Even in her chosen occupations, she found a way to be of service to her local community.
As a school bus driver of Lebanon students, she quickly became a favorite when she introduced music to the ride.
In her years as a Regional Supervisor for DHIA (The National Dairy Herd Improvement Association) she aided many CT. farmers to track the health, viability, and productivity of their herd and maintain high industry standards. Perhaps though, she is best known for being the owner and operator of S&J Lawn Care, for over 30 years. Townspeople often saw her, and her crew, maintaining the beauty of the historical Lebanon Green, town cemeteries, municipal properties, and businesses, and the yards and gardens of residential homes throughout the local area.
She had a natural talent for landscaping design, and a standard of excellence, bar none. At home, on the farm, the flowers she planted bloom in abundance.
Sandy was always willing to share her skill sets, whether work or recreation related. She especially loved to teach the kids.(Even the grown-up “kids”!). It might be how to drive a tractor, lawnmower, or dune buggy; water ski or ski-doo; change their oil or run a chainsaw… she knew how to do it all. (and if she didn’t, she’d find out how, and be proficient, in no time!)
Her love of nature led to many travel adventures with Linda; including the Caribbean, Hawaii and a spectacular trip to Alaska. There was whitewater rafting, motorcycling, boating, skiing, biking, helicopter rides, and hang gliding, to name just a few of the activities she loved. One of her favorite destinations, by far, was spending time at their cottage on Big Indian Pond in Maine. Watching the sunrise over the water, or sitting by the crackling campfire in the moonlight… this was a refuge for them, and a place to share good times with family and friends.
In her travels, she honed her exceptional photography skills, capturing the beauty of the natural world; bald eagles, loons, waterfalls, and icebergs. All living things aligned with her soul… especially animals. She loved her horses, cats, dogs, geese, ducks, pigs, and orphaned fawns alike, but now it’s her loyal Sadie and Fritz who are sadly left to wonder where their Sandy has gone.
In addition to her spouse Linda, she will be greatly missed by Jeffrey Miller of North Windham, along with his wife Jackie, and son, Justin. Jeff has been like a son to them, and has brought them more joy and pride than even he may know.
Sandy is also survived by a large and grieving family, including; Laurie (Blakeslee) & Tom Clark, Frank & Amy Blakeslee, Diane & Bert Rosa, Carol & Tom Roach, Ray & Kathy Finelli and all of their families; with many wonderful nieces and nephews who have always held a special place in her heart. To have so many cherished family members, that it would’ve been difficult to name them all here, is a blessing that Sandy was eternally grateful for. There are many cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family members who will be missing her, as well.
In addition to so many relations, Sandy has a network of friends so close and supportive that they are family, too. These wonderful people have uplifted her spirit throughout the years and helped to weave the rich and colorful tapestry of her life.
Sandy was predeceased by her loving brother, Kevin Blakeslee, in 2017.
On behalf of Sandy, the family wishes to thank Betsy Petrie, Sandy Belisle, and the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department, Windham Hospital, and HHC Hospice for their support during her courageous battle with cancer.
Calling hours will be held Friday, January 12th, 2024 from 4pm-8pm at the Aurora-McCarthy Funeral Home, 167 Old Hartford Rd, Colchester CT. A Celebration of Life will be held the following day, on Saturday, January 13th, 2024, at 11am, at The First Baptist Church of Lebanon, 694 Trumbull Highway, Lebanon CT. Burial will follow at the New Lebanon Cemetery on Waterman Rd, Lebanon, CT. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Lebanon. To share a memory, or sign the guestbook, please visit www.auroramccarthyfuneralhome.com
First Baptist Church of Lebanon
P.O. Box 231, Lebanon CT 06249