Kathleen Marie Sands
Aug. 22, 1939 ~ Dec. 25, 2018
K a t h l e e n Marie (Kay) Sands, née Mullen, 79, of Phoenix, Ariz., died on Dec. 25, 2018, in A l e x a n d r i a , Va., from complications of heart and lung disease.
Kay was born in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 22, 1939. Later she lived in Spokane, Wash., Cocoa Beach, Fla., Tucson, Ariz., and Tempe, Ariz.
Kay graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Ore., in 1957, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Holy Names College (Gonzaga University) in Spokane, Wash., in 1961, and a Master of Arts in 1973 and Ph.D. in literature from the University of Arizona in 1977. While in Cocoa Beach, she worked for CBS New York, supporting coverage of the Apollo moon landings. Later, Kay became a professor of folklore and American Indian literature in the English department at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. Her book publications include “Autobiography of a Yaqui Poet” (1980), and “Charreria Mexicana, An Equestrian Folk Tradition” (1993). She served a term as president of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures, was a Fulbright scholar at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and frequently traveled back to Greece to visit close friends. She was a visiting professor at the University of Coimbra in Porto, Portugal, as well as at Portland State University.
Kay was intelligent, well-read and travelled, independent and had a good sense of humor. She was very knowledgeable about politics, history and current events. She regularly enjoyed meeting up with friends and family to share meals, talk and laugh. Her favorite drink was Coca-Cola and she enjoyed mystery novels and shows. She had an adventurous streak as well— throughout her lifetime, she enjoyed driving sports cars, riding horseback through South Mountain Park, and visiting her friend’s sheep ranch in Colorado. She adopted several cats and dogs over the years from the Arizona Human Society and loved her dog Tessa and cat Mango.
Kay was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond Mullen and Elma Mullen, née Mercier, and brother, Lawrence Mullen. She is survived by her son, Brian D. Sands, and his wife, Leslie Oakey, of Alexandria, Va.; her daughter, Teryl D. Sands, and her husband, Darren Sversvold, of Phoenix; and grandchildren Nina and Johannes Herz.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Kay’s name to the Arizona Humane Society.
We appreciate the love and support that Kay gave us and will miss her dearly.
(Submitted by Connie Theos: Kay spent most of her summers here in Meeker where she made many friends and did a whole lot of things to support our community. She was a paid member of Rio Blanco Woolgrowers, attended Colorado Woolgrowers Conventions, volunteered at the sheepdog trials, lamb kabob lunch at our fair, and even testified before our RBC BOCC in support of “saving the elementary school.” She also did a taped oral history interview with Nick Theos on his life as a Greek sheepman.)