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Sandy Schwartz

Sandy Schwartz, 79, of Franklin, Michigan, died on 26 March 2023.

The Funeral was held at IRA KAUFMAN CHAPEL on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 at 11:00 AM .

Rabbi Aaron Starr, Rabbi Yonatan Dahlen, and Hazzan David Propis officiated.

Click to watch a video of the recorded service.

Interment at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.

Click for Directions for Cemetery

The family of Sandy Schwartz will be gathering through the evening of Thursday, March 30 at the residence, 26880 Willowgreen, Franklin MI 48025.

Family and friends will be gathering on Tuesday immediately following the interment until 5:00 p.m. and from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and on Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00-5:00 and 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Religious services will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Click for Directions to Shiva

Sandy Schwartz, 79, of Franklin, Michigan, a positive force who devoted her life to family, friends and philanthropy, died Sunday, March 26, after living with and above cancer for 45 years.

Born December 23, 1943, to Herbert and Jeanette Goldberg, Sandy grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, in an intimate, vibrant Jewish community where her parents owned hardware and women’s clothing businesses. In nursery school, Sandy and eleven other girls began a lifelong friendship. Later in life, this remarkable group of women dubbed themselves the West Ghent Girls (WGG) after the Norfolk neighborhood in which they grew up. The West Ghent Girls and their husbands celebrated generations of Simchas together, never missing Bar and Bat Mitzvahs or weddings of each other’s children and later grandchildren. Sandy’s connection with the WGG and her family that remained in Tidewater always enabled Sandy to call Norfolk home (only occasionally to her husband Alan’s irritation).

After graduation from high school, Sandy attended and graduated from Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University. There, too, she made lifelong friends.

From New Orleans, Sandy moved to Boston, as she would say, to look for a husband. If you were 21 and Southern and Jewish and not engaged, you were a spinster, and at 23, Sandy’s mother would tell her friends that it was a shame that Sandy never married. Thankfully for both of them, Alan and Sandy met in a casually-arranged setting to watch the 1967 Major League Baseball All-Star game, a set up by one of Sandy’s college roommates and Alan’s best friend at law school. The next morning, Alan told his friend that he thought Sandy was very cute and that he wanted to call her, while Sandy told her friend that Alan was the rudest person she had ever met. That less than perfect start notwithstanding, the friends persevered and Sandy and Alan married in the summer of 1968 and were married for 54 years.

Sandy and Alan moved to Detroit where Sandy started a new life knowing not a soul (except for Brenda and Ira Jaffe). She would say to Alan: “It isn’t that people don’t like me, they don’t know me.”

Indeed, once people got to know Sandy, they loved her. During her decades in Michigan, Sandy became a community activist and an influential volunteer within the Detroit Jewish community in particular. She developed many deep relationships, her trademark.

Among her many accomplishments, Sandy co-founded the Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women, an organization to which she was extremely dedicated as a woman who had spent nearly her entire adult life facing cancer. With more than 300 women, the network is an empowerment group for women living with or recovering from cancer. “To celebrate life, we all need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone,” Sandy said in a 2019 interview when she was honored with Congregation Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood’s Woman of Valor Award.

Sandy was a founding trustee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation, a past president of Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy, the president of the Sisterhood of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, and a life board member of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. She was involved in the League of Women Voters and the American Cancer Society. Sandy was an active board member of many Federation agencies including the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Home and Aging Services (now Jewish Senior Life), Jewish Vocational Service (now Gesher Human Services) and Jewish Family Services. She was president of the Sinai Guild, a board member of various subsidiaries of the Detroit Medical Center, a consumer representative to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council and a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Sandy was a full-time volunteer and then some. She always said she wanted to be nothing more than a foot soldier, but all of these organizations and others sought her out for leadership because of her kindness, tireless commitment, wisdom and judgment. She became a friend and mentor to generations of women in the community.

She preferred to stay behind the scenes and sought no recognition, but several organizations to which she devoted her energy chose to recognize her nevertheless. Sandy was honored for her extraordinary efforts with: The United Way Heart of Gold Award, the Distinguished Volunteer Award by Jewish Federation for National Philanthropy, the William Davidson Lifetime Achievement Award, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Distinguished Volunteer Award, the Kipnis-Wilson Friedland Award and the Geri Lester Courage Award.

Sandy also was known for her quips, which she shared freely. Two of her favorites were: “To have a friend, you have to be a friend,” and “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

With all of that, Sandy reserved her greatest love for Alan, David and Jodi, Mark and Denise and Elena, Ian, Sam, Zack and Andrew (A.J.). She was the best mom and nana a child or grandchild could ever hope to have. She took care of Alan and tried her best to smooth his rough edges for nearly 55 years of love and mutual devotion. She became the family matriarch, elegantly hosting all of the Jewish holiday meals for extended family and friends for decades.

Finally, Sandy was a thriver, not just a survivor. Diagnosed with cancer at age 33, she never gave in and never complained. She worked tirelessly with others first in Reach to Recovery and then with Michelle Passon and the late Patti Nemer to establish the Cancer Thrivers Network, which has benefited hundreds of women facing and trying to learn to deal with and cope with cancer. Sandy made a difference to so many.

Family members include: Beloved wife of 54 years of Alan S. Schwartz. Cherished mother of David (Jodi Cohen) Schwartz and Mark (Denise) Schwartz. Adoring grandmother of Elena, Ian, Sam, Zachary, and Andrew Schwartz. Loving sister of Judy (Mannie) Smith. Dear sister-in-law of Gail and Dr. Alan Sugar, Gary Schwartz and Cindy Shaffran, and Chris and the late Janice Billmeyer. Also survived by many loving relatives, friends, and the West Ghent Girls.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Sandy Schwartz may do so by making a contribution to:

Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women
6735 Telegraph Road
Suite 100
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
(617) 359-9102
Click to Visit Charity Website

Jewish Federation of Detroit
6735 Telegraph Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
Click to Visit Charity Website

Congregation Shaarey Zedek
27375 Bell Road
Southfield, MI 48034
Click to Visit Charity Website