Sandra Schuler Phillips passed away in Seattle, Wash., on Aug. 31, 2020, at the age of 82.
Sandra was born in 1937 in Muskegon, Mich., where she was the only girl in a family with four younger brothers. After graduating from Marquette University, Sandra moved to California to begin her elementary teaching career. It was there that she met Jim Phillips, who became her husband.
Jim’s naval career took them to Greece, Oakland, Virginia Beach and, finally, to Oak Harbor, Wash.
Sandra started as a substitute teacher, then transitioned to full-time teaching at Oak Harbor, Crescent Harbor and Broadview elementary schools. She loved teaching and her classrooms were always vibrant, energetic places. A mad scramble for the loose classroom rat was not uncommon.
When she wasn’t teaching, Sandra was a whirl of motion. She loved to swim from her days on Lake Michigan; but in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest she transitioned to swimming in the local pool. She maintained an abundant backyard garden and a patio ringed with pots of herbs and flowers. She loved to visit any nearby farmer’s market. Produce was transformed into wild salads and jams, relishes, and pickles. She also loved to bake and cook, scouring gourmet cooking magazines for new cuisine to explore and share with family and friends. Sandra was a voracious reader, regularly frequenting “The Wind & Tide” for the latest books for herself and her classroom. As the only Phillips who could carry a tune, she heartily sang in the Catholic church choir.
After Sandra retired from teaching, she and Jim explored the West and Southwest in their trailer, eventually settling for winters in Green Valley, Ariz. With her new-found time, she joined a hiking group, swimming pool workouts, and visited more farmers markets. And she loved outings with friends and hearing about and hosting her grandkids.
Sandra spent her last seven years living at an Aegis memory care residence in Seattle. For many years, she was one of the most active participants in social activities, going on outings around the city, playing word games and always joining in singalongs. She continued to attend Catholic mass. Even as her verbal ability diminished, she maintained her desire and ability to connect with staff and other residents.
Sandra is survived by her brothers, Robert (Doug) Schuler, of Bradenton, Fla., and Tom Schuler, of Muskegon, Mich.; her son, Sean Phillips, of Bellevue; daughter, Shannon Philips, of Seattle; and grandsons, Oscar and Leo Burney.