Cover photo for Sandra J. Peterson's Obituary
Sandra J. Peterson Profile Photo
1954 Sandra 2023

Sandra J. Peterson

June 5, 1954 — August 20, 2023


On June 5th, 1954, the world got brighter when Otis and Lois Smith's baby girl, Sandra Joyce Smith, was born. The youngest of three, Sandy had the benefit of growing up with two older sisters, Jane and Judy, who were there to show her the ropes. To which, Sandy would occasionally listen and, of course, occasionally not listen because that's just what a great little sister would do. 

Sandy grew up in Sandy Lake - a fitting coincidence as she was the kind of person who deserved to have a town named after her. She was just a small town girl, but her world was far from lonely and she most certainly was not taking a midnight train anywhere. For it was her joyful smile and feisty spirit that brought so many into her life and filled it with laughter and love. 

Sandy was a child of the 60s, but instead of finding herself at Woodstock, she found herself at the Church of the Nazarene in Franklin, PA. In a true act of rebellion, she didn't follow the counter-culture, but rather followed God to exactly where she needed to be. It was in that church that she found a community and she found the love of her life in a sweet rascal of a young man named Jerry. Jerry was a "just one of the guys" kinda guy, but Sandy saw more. She knew Jerry's heart was as big as the ocean and that a life with him would be filled with what's really important - LOVE.  And on July 2nd, 1977, Sandy walked down the aisle, held Jerry's hand, and said I do. 

Sandy and Jerry's family grew as they had two healthy baby boys, Corey G (1978) and Nathan Leroy (1983.) The boys' names were as unique as the beautiful soul that raised them. And it was often those names and people's misspellings of them that brought out Sandy's feisty side. For anyone that dare leave out the "e" in Corey or assume Nathan was short for Nathaniel met the Mama Bear side of Sandy real fast. And that was just one of those quirks that made Sandy the character that she really was. 

In the 80s, Sandy went against the grain again when she enrolled at Clarion University to get her accounting degree. During those four years, Sandy worked a part-time job, continued to be a rock for family and friends, raised her two sons, and graduated with honors. As the saying goes, not all heroes wear capes. Most are more commonly called honey or sweetie or friend or pal. Or in this case, Mom.

With her accounting degree in hand, Sandy took a job with Anderson's furniture. She loved the opportunity and her co-workers and her boys loved that the office was right beside McDonald's. After years at Anderson's, Sandy was given the opportunity to work for All Season's Temporaries, which she loved as it presented her with new challenges to meet. And, her boys loved it as the new office was beside Subway. 

Through all of her years of work, Sandy never missed one of her sons' football games, baseball games, or wrestling matches. And, even though Sandy stood 5 feet tall on a good day, her voice was always the loudest in the stands. Once again, her feisty side stood out as her go to cheer was "HIT HIM." Her two sons were never happier than to point to the crowd and say, "that's my mom." 

Even with a full-plate of being a wife, mom, superfan, and accountant, Sandy always had time for the church, her friends, and family. She lost her father, who she cherished, at a young age. And instead of pulling her love in after that loss, Sandy's heart grew. Her love grew for her step-father, Eugene Morford. Her heart grew for all that were lucky enough to really know her. 

As Sandy made her way into retirement, she spent more time with those that she held so dear. Denise Rial and Jane Sandieson, her two best friends that were by her side through thick and thin, laughs and tears. Sue Peterson, the sister-in-law that was truly a sister at heart. Jane and Judy, Sandy's older sisters, down in Florida that she loved to visit and talk to regularly. Saturday and Sunday lunches with her son, Nate, and his wife, Maranda, in Pittsburgh. Morning conversations with her son, Corey, in Hawaii. FaceTimes with Corey's wife, Hannah. Little cuddly cat naps with Mia. And, of course, all the big and little moments with the love of her life, Jerry. 

So many lives Sandy touched by just being present, loving, and accepting. It was Sandy's accepting and unconditional loving nature that made her so special. She truly walked the path of Christ. And it's because of this that when Sandy passed, with Jerry at her side living the vow that he promised, the world didn't dim. It got brighter. All of those lives touched lit up with that love inside of them. All of that love shining for that small town girl who made the world fuller, funnier, and more compassionate. 

Sandy Peterson is survived by her husband of 46 years, Jerry Peterson of Franklin;  her son Nathan and his wife Maranda of Pittsburgh; her son Corey and his wife Hannah of Maui, Hawaii; and her two sisters, Jane Liptak and Judy Heath, of Orlando, Florida. And of course she would want us to remember her fur baby Mia and grand pets Burt, Leon, Ziggy, and June.

Sandy is preceded in passing by her father Otis Smith, her mother Lois Morford, her step-father Eugene Morford, and Spanky Lavalliere (the beloved family cocker spaniel, not the Pirates catcher for whom he was named after).

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations in Sandy's name can be made to the BDSRA Foundation (bdsra or the Franklin Church of the Nazarene.

A celebration of life will be held at The Fellowship Hall of the Franklin Church of the Nazarene 393 Pone Lane, Franklin on Saturday September 2, 2023 from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Huff-Guthrie Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., 312 West Park St. Franklin.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 2, 2023

12:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Franklin Church of the Nazarene

393 Pone Ln, Franklin, PA 16323

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