Biographical sketch of Sandra Joyce Alexander by Shelley Dumas (cousin)
In 1909, great-grandparents H.B. and Emma Copeman, with eldest daughter Nina, sold their Michigan farm, loaded their belongings on a train and journeyed to Coeur d’Alene. They drew Benewah homestead #204 and by the end of 1910 had built Idlewild Ranch, primarily for timber harvest. Nina, who enjoyed reading, immediately subscribed to National geographic through the Plummer Post Office. In 1913, Nina married Millard Preston, an adjacent homesteader, and they moved to a third homestead in Hell’s Gulch. They had two children including Elizabeth Maxine – Sandie’s mother – who married Elmo Alexander in 1940. Sandra was born May 13, 1942 in Coeur d’Alene. Her childhood years were spent in “the project” (government housing at the base of Tubbs Hill) – but in 1955 the family relocated to their dream home near Sanders Beach.
Due to divorces, Sandie grew to adulthood in a mostly matriarchal setting with her mother and grandmother and, although she was well loved and cared for, it wasn’t a particularly stimulating environment. At an early age, Sandie found a second home – the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. Her life-long love of learning and books was even more significant since Sandy was dyslectic – a condition that wasn’t recognized until her college years. It seemed a natural calling for Sandie to become an innovative educator who positively influenced 30+ years of students.
Through her career years Sandie enjoyed cultural and outdoor pursuits. She loved art and music. She was a movie fan and continued to be an avid reader. She relished being “on the road”” with her dogs in her little truck to camp, hike, fish, ski and kayak.
Sandie retired in 1997 and returned to the family home in Coeur d’Alene. With trips to Alaska and Europe, she was given the opportunity to finally connect with some of the people and places of her beloved books. However, foremost in Sandie’s heart was the revitalization of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. She excitedly followed its plans and progress and it was a proud day when she walked through those new doors.
Sandie died Christmas Day 2008. Her memory and love of books will be perpetuated through her gift to the Coeur d’Alene Public Library.