Sandra Kay Chesser
In the early evening hours of December 30, 2020, Sandra Kay Chesser (DeFreese) took her final breath, leaving this world for her home in heaven. For 76-years, Sandy, as most knew her, served as one of God’s great blessings to this world, living a life of unbridled compassion, grace, faith, and abounding love. She was born a daughter and sister, then married and became a beloved wife and mother, and she proudly wore as a charm around her heart the title of grandmother and great grandmother. Her loss cannot be measured by words or tears, just as her life could never be captured by a few sentences on a page. And while her soul now shines bright among the stars in God’s nighttime sky, our days are darkened by her unexpected departure.
Sandy was born on October 1, 1944, at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, IN. In passing, she was preceded by her parents, Lester and Marilyn Tavernier of Union, MI; sister Vicki Balcom of Union, MI; and granddaughter Brooklynn Dunn of Shreveport, LA. Sandy is survived by her husband Floyd Chesser; son Corey Chesser and daughter-in-law Carey Chesser; son Stacey Chesser and daughter-in-law Christie Chesser; step-daughter Gwen Felkins, step-daughter Zena Forristall and son-in-law Lindsay Forristall; grandchildren Brandon Rossow, Lathan Forristall, Nicole Forristall, Amy Jones, Geoff Jones, Kristen Rott, Michael Rott, Tamara Mametieff, Chelsey Patera, Stephen Patera, Cassidey Chesser, Courtney Chesser, and Gabrielle Dunn; great-grandchildren Lathaniel Forristall Jr., Eleanor Forristall, Elijah Jones, Noah Jones, Isiah Jones, Jamison Rott, Landon Rott, Kaylyn Mametieff, Dylan Mametieff, Finn Patera, Oakley Patera, and Sawyer Doran; brother Greg Tavernier and sister-in-law Diane Tavernier of Naples Florida; and brother-in-law Chet Balcom of Union, MI; and many nieces and nephews.
Many years ago, Sandy’s youngest son asked his mother what she dreamed of becoming when she was a little girl. Her answer was simple but honest, “A mother. That’s all I ever wanted to be, and I am.” And it goes without question her children were her greatest joy in life. She beamed with the pride of Victorian Queen at the wedding of her firstborn son, and she ran without hesitation to the side of her youngest son whenever he needed her warm embrace, and that was often.
For 55-years, Sandy loved her husband with unwavering loyalty and devotion. From their first days together as a married couple in Banning, CA. until their last hours together in Buckeye, AZ., Sandy cherished and honored her groom Floyd, and he loved and adored her equally in return.
If she stood up straight and planted her heels squarely against a brick wall, Sandy swore she measured 5’ 1” tall. While that fact remains highly questionable, what is known for sure is that Sandy lived a grand life by any measure. At the age of 50, she learned to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle and went snow skiing for the first time. She learned to ride the New York City subway solo, attended a Flaming Lips concert on New Year’s Eve, and spent a night in the hotel where JFK honeymooned.
Sandy also had three fur-babies, Peebles, Mindy, and Roxie, each of them miniature poodles that she possibly loved a little bit more than her human offspring. But who could blame her? The pups all behaved better than her children, and the dogs were cuter than her kids.
While she filled our hearts with a lifetime of memories and love, the penning of this obituary note on her life happened far too soon. A terrible, cruel disease stole Sandy without allowing us to say goodbye in the manner she deserved. And that is a wound from which it will be impossible to heal, for, in all her years on Earth, Sandy made not a single enemy nor judged a solitary soul. Why God chose this to be her fate, we will never know. But we find some comfort and hope for peace in this: thirteen months ago, on the eve of her sister’s death, Sandy was baptized in the same hospital where she was born, assuring that she would spend life eternal in the Kingdom of God.
A memorial service for Sandy and her sister Vickie is in the planning for a future date near Union, MI. In place of flowers, please consider donating in Sandy’s name to the COVID-19 COMMUNITY RESPONSE FUND, a charitable partnership between The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties.