Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 13, 2013

Sandra Lee (Taylor) Strong Died Oct. 10, 2013

TRAVERSE CITY — Sandra Lee (Taylor) Strong, 78, of Traverse City, passed away Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, at her home, with her loving family gathered around her. Sandra was born on Wednesday, May 15, 1935, to Howard Lee and Sarah “Sally” Nevada (Brown) Taylor in Kalamazoo.

She graduated from Mattawan High School in 1953.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, 1955, Sandra married the love of her life, Richard James Strong, in Kanley Chapel at Western Michigan University.

The Strongs made their homes in Kalamazoo, Utica and Lapeer before moving to Traverse City in 1970. Finding a church community became a priority, and they became active members of Central United Methodist Church.

Sandra felt her most important job was raising “her girls.” She spent a great deal of time with other youth as well, teaching 4-H programs and summer camps.

Working in an elementary school and the retail industry, a job was only worth doing if you did it well.

Finding the good in everyone, she cultivated friendships that brought her untold pleasure. The greatest joy in Sandra’s life was being with her family and especially her grandchildren.

Sandra is survived by her husband of 58 years, Richard; by her children, Jane Lee (Dan) Kloosterman, of Traverse City, and Julie Ann Strong and her life partner, Arloa Raffler, of Kalamazoo; her grandchildren, Taylor and Sarah Kloosterman; her mother, Sarah Taylor, of Kalamazoo; and a sister, Sally (Robert) Presutti, of Naples, Fla. Also surviving are her brothers-in-law, Richard Barkley, of Naples, Fla., and Neil Strong, of Kalamazoo.

Sandra was preceded in death by her father, Howard; her sister, Irene Barkley; and sisters-in-law, Beverly Bingham and Dorothy Strong.

Visitation for Sandra will begin at noon Tuesday, Oct. 15, in the Chapel of Central United Methodist Church, 222 Cass St., Traverse City, followed by the memorial service at 1 p.m. The Rev. Dale Ostema will officiate. Inurnment will take place in the Columbarium of Central United Methodist Church.

Rather than flowers, the family would ask that Sandra be remembered through memorial gifts to Central United Methodist Church, 222 Cass St., Traverse City, MI 49684 or to Heartland Hospice, 4020 Copper Ridge View, Suite 113, Traverse City, MI 49684.

Please share your favorite memory of Sandra, or your condolences, by way of her online guestbook at

The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

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