Sandra “Sandy” Alderson passed away peacefully on February 21, 2020 in Pleasanton. During the last few weeks of her life, family and friends visited her constantly, bringing her great joy. Her children were with her during her final hours and she died surrounded by love.
She was born Sandra Frances Singleton on November 19, 1932 in Los Angeles to Horace “Hal” and Catherine Fair Singleton. She spent her childhood in San Gabriel and Monterey Park. From an early age, Sandy demonstrated three qualities that would define her throughout her life: great intelligence, an eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life, and a tremendous capacity to love. As a young girl, she excelled academically, eventually skipping two years of school. In an era when society often viewed people with disabilities and ethnic minorities with great disdain, Sandy treated her classmates from both backgrounds with compassion and respect. She developed a great love of nature and animals and spent much of her formative years outdoors.
At the age of 16, Sandy matriculated at the University of California at Davis, where she intended to either study medicine or animal husbandry. Once again, Sandy’s sharp mind and intellectual curiosity helped her to stand out as a top student. At a dance during her first semester, she met Thomas “Tom” Edward Alderson, a senior who hailed from a farming family in Artesia. They fell in love and married on August 6, 1950. Their marriage lasted almost 65 years until his death in 2015.
Sandy chose not to finish her college degree in favor of joining Tom on his family farm, first in Anaheim and then in Vernalis, where they spent the next 50 years and raised their children. Sandy played an instrumental role in running the farm, performing tasks ranging from sorting onions to cooking meals large enough to feed all of the workers who tended to the land. She also became a leader and cherished member of the community. Over the years, she volunteered at the Federated Church of Patterson and Women for Agriculture, tutored through the “Each One Teach One” literacy program, served as the president of a women’s group at the Presbyterian Church in Tracy, and participated in three book clubs at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore. Sandy was particularly active in the 4H youth organization, both as a cooking teacher and a parent. Her children fondly remember her loving guidance as they cared for a horse and a sheep, assembled an entomology collection, and trained a guide dog for the blind.
Religion was a topic that particularly fascinated Sandy. She became well versed in the teachings of numerous faiths and sought opportunities to engage in discourse with the people who practiced them. She also passionately championed the inclusion of LGBT ministers and constituents in the Methodist Church, giving talks in support of the reconciliation process. In addition, she maintained numerous close friendships, and many individuals considered her an honorary sister, mother, and grandmother.
Sandy considered her family her treasure and greatest legacy. Sandy is survived by her daughters Susan (Jim) Alderson of Livermore and Jeanne Alderson (Barbara Cooke) of Santa Rosa; son Bill (Toni) Alderson of Aptos; grandsons Tom Alderson of Pleasant Hill, James (Tatiana) Alderson of Lviv, Ukraine, Christopher Alderson of Sunnyvale, and Danny Robinson (Amber) of Patterson; great-grandchildren Alan Robinson, Elizabeth “Elle” Alderson, Hannah Alderson, and Rachel Sandra Alderson; and a nephew, Michael Singleton. She was predeceased by her husband Tom Alderson, her brother Bill Singleton, and her daughter Cathy Alderson.
The family would like to thank Phyllis Mesquita, Hope Hospice, and Creekview for their loving care.
Services are cancelled as a result of COVID-19.