June 28, 1936 - March 24, 2018
What makes a good day? For Sandra Jewell “Gma” French a good day was simple; quality time with the people she loved. A good day was full of belly-laughter, family stories, full plates and full bellies, and a good cup of coffee. Her open heartedness and her effortless generosity enabled everyone around her to feel the powerful love she exuded. She was born on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana on June 28th, 1936 to Charles Blythe Welch and Violet Marie (Adams) Welch. Her early years were spent playing outside with her siblings near Birch Creek. My grandma often told stories about sitting at the wide skirt of her grandmother listening to stories told in Blackfeet, or about sharing one bathtub of hot water between her and all of her siblings. Sandra was preceded in death by her parents, her best friend and sister Joyce Marie Dudzinski, and her brother Charles Blythe Welch, Jr. Sandra was the first of her siblings, and the first in our family, to graduate from college. She studied medical technology and graduated with Bachelor’s degree from Holy Names College in Spokane. She spent almost 50 years working as a lab technician. Passionate about medical science, Sandra was always keen to ‘take a look’ at your blood work. If you were to ask my Grandma what truly gave her the most joy in this life, she would tell you it was her family. Sandra is survived by her daughter Dr. Kristen B. French and partner Matt Gossett, grandchildren (myself) Elizabeth Carlene Bragg, and my little brother Charlie Hunter French, brother William “Billy Boy” Welch, and many loving relatives and friends. She held us all up. Supported us. Sacrificed for us. She was committed to us and to so many others. She made it possible for us to thrive, grow, and take one more step on our own journeys to walk in a good way. Almost two years ago, Sandra was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As always, she was surrounded by people who loved her. And it was the loving everyday support of her ‘chosen son’, Matt, that gave her strength, kept a smile on her face and a warm cup of coffee in her hand. As she battled cancer she found strength in her family, but ultimately her Catholic faith gave her the peace she craved. Sandra’s service to others centered her spiritual practice. When we opened her well-worn Bible, we found a detailed list of those she prayed novenas for. Her connection to her Blackfeet culture was rooted in place and family history. Summers spent in Browning renewed and rejuvenated her. Stories that she shared are a communion with those who had come before her and those who will continue now. Sandra impacted everyone. From her friends, cousins, nieces and nephews who knew her well, to the women who frequently did her nails, or her nurses, or folks from our chosen family and everyone who spent time with her. Usually that time was spent eating delicious food and laughing- her laugh filled a room and then some! She saw every holiday, every graduation, every change of the season, as an opportunity to bring folks together. Feed them up. Love them up. Share a story. Laugh with everyone. My grandma would sit in her chair and sweetly magnetize people toward her. With her warmth and grounded-ness. With her softness and strength. It was her willingness to love so selflessly and to give with so much open heartedness that was a blessing to all of us. A Vigil Service will be held at Westford Funeral Home, 1301 Broadway St. in Bellingham at 7 PM on Tuesday, March 27th. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Church of the Assumption at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, March 28th. You may share memories of Sandra at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.
What makes a good day? For Sandra Jewell “Gma” French a good day was simple; quality time with the people she loved. A good day was full of belly-laughter, family stories, full plates and full bellies, and a good cup of coffee. Her... View Obituary & Service Information
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