Sandra Ruth Abernethy Miller, 69, of Mt. Gilead, went home to continue serving the Lord on February 4th, 2021, at Atrium Health Main in Charlotte, surrounded by her “boys” following an honorable fight. A remarkable wife, mother, “Grammie,” teacher, and friend to all. Sandra will undoubtedly continue taking care of each, and everyone ensuring love, laughs, and great memories are abundant. Sandra maintained a home that was always open to all and loved hosting crowds, kids, and family.
Sandra is predeceased by her parents Clement Lee Abernethy, Jr., and Mary DeLuke Black Abernethy. She is survived by her husband, Chip of the home. Two sons: Joseph McCamey Miller, III and wife Carrie of Pinehurst and Justin Lee Miller of Charlotte; two grandchildren, Dylan McCamey, and Clare Anne Miller. In addition, she is survived by her brother, Clement Lee Abernethy, III (Janet) of Charlotte, sister-in-law’s, Cindy Miller Edwards (David) of Locust, Donna Miller Capel (John) of Mt. Gilead, and Linda Miller Harris (Jim) of Locust and a host of nieces and nephews.
Sandra was born May 7th, 1951, in Charlotte, North Carolina. During her youth Sandra was active in the church, girl scouts, marching band, barrel racing, and could often be found driving a tractor on the family dairy farm. Sandra attended Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church and Cochrane Jr. High School. During her high school years, she met the love of her life, Chip, that began a 54-year bond. Following graduation from Independence High School in 1969, Sandra started her lifelong “Catamount” pride by attending Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, where she was an active member in Alpha Xi Delta sorority, earning a BA in Special Education. On August 12th, 1972, Sandra and Chip were married, solidifying a lifelong commitment of love, dedication, and family for over 48 years. Following graduation, Sandra immediately began leaving her lasting mark on the lives of her students. She began her career in education at West Montgomery High School before moving on to Mt. Gilead Elementary, where she taught special education. In 1995 Sandra herself became a student again and earned her Master’s in Reading and Supervision from UNC Charlotte. Following over three decades of teaching, Sandra continued her dedication to the education system working as an Elementary Supervisor for the Montgomery County School System. Following retirement, Sandra continued her contribution to education, serving on the Montgomery Community College Foundation and Montgomery County Schools boards until her passing.
Sandra’s dedication did not stop with education. She remained a faithful member of First United Methodist Church, where her service included: Sunday school teacher, choir, handbells, Christmas caroling chair, Pastor-staff relations committee, chair of the Board of Trustees, Methodist youth fellowship counselor, church program director, lay witness committee, worship committee chair, church members nomination committee, administrative council, bus driver, “Church Basement Ladies,” treasure of the Women’s circle and First United Methodist Church Lay Person of the Year.
Within Mt. Gilead and the greater Montgomery County Community, Sandra served and spearheaded shop with a cop, meals-on-wheels, community theater, community choir, and backpacks for kids where she often had her grandchildren by her side. She was active in her community as a member of the Mt. Gilead Town board for over 12 years and the Standback Park Program Director for more than ten years.
Sandra was known for her vibrant spirit and love for life with her family and friends. Her desire to host big crowds on Christmas Eve and July 4th became traditions for many family and friends throughout the years. Sandra loved dogs, and for years a cocker spaniel was always seen as her co-pilot, whether in her car or a pontoon boat floating down the river. For anyone who knew Sandra knows that her “vintage” home on Lake Tillery provided beautiful sunsets and was her happy place open to everyone to enjoy. Sandra loved to travel with Chip and her closest friends. Recent trips across this great country and beyond provided a sense of spirit and adventure that she longed for throughout the years. Sandra always boasted about her two boys and further doated on her two grandchildren Dylan and Clare. There was never an escapade that “Grammie” was not willing to be an adventurous sidekick. Her passion for reading ensured not only her grandbabies were always curled up beside her but also a circle of women discussing their favorite monthly books.
Sandra felt so honored and blessed to have such an incredible medical staff working diligently throughout her fight. Both Sandra and her family will forever be grateful to the dedicated and compassionate nurses and medical staff of both the Levine Cancer Institute and the 4th-floor Oncology department at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center. Sandra’s last 48 hours within the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit (STICU) further highlighted her medical staff's incredible commitment to ensure her final request were met. There were countless friends and family that made themselves unselfishly a part of her support team during this fight.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, Mt. Gilead Elementary School, Montgomery Animal Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 3rd Group Warrior Fund, Fraternal Order of Police Charlotte-Mecklenburg Lodge #9, or charity of givers choice.
Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the family will have a small private ceremony this coming week, however a Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date when it is safe for everyone to gather, laugh, reminisce, and toast to the wonderful life that Sandra lived.
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