March 9, 2019 — Sandra Lee Sampson Jones, 69, died of pancreatic cancer on March 2, 2019.
A trailblazing Alaskan architect, all-star mom and lifelong lover of the Pacific Coast, Sandy spent her brief illness surrounded by family and love.
Born in North Bend in 1949 and raised in Florence, Sandy was fascinated by the structural plans her dad brought home from his plumbing shop. She grew interested in construction — going around the house with a tape measure — but also saw that local builders were all men.
In sixth grade, she read that four percent of U.S. architects were women and decided she could become one too.
Sandy graduated from the University of Oregon, started her career in Seattle and — but for a season she took off to catch salmon on a commercial fishing boat — spent three decades working as an architect.
Opportunity sent her to Alaska in 1977, where she became a partner at Kumin Associates. She traveled by bush plane and riverboat to job sites all over the state, sometimes sleeping in village classrooms or trailers leftover from pipeline construction.
An expert in cold-region design, she led many commercial and institutional projects, including rural schools and military housing.
In 1984, an accountant who worked in her building caught her eye. After they turned each other’s heads passing on a stairwell, she phoned him up for a date. She married Johnie Jones four months later.
They started their family in Anchorage with daughter, Leslie, and completed it by traveling twice to Cambodia to adopt sons, Billy and Ricky.
The family spent winters skiing in Girdwood and summers on their sailboat, taking in the coves and glaciers of Alaska’s rugged coastline.
She returned to Florence in 2005 and relished retirement and the sports-mom life, traveling the coast to watch her sons compete.
She traded in managing architects for volunteering on the Siuslaw Baseball Association board and made cooking delicious Thanksgivings for extended family look easy using her meal-prep spreadsheets.
She loved hiking with friends, kayaking and was known to go lake swimming in October, when most of us thought it too cold. She took the Trans-Siberian railroad across Russia, a ship through the Panama Canal — and she always brought her watercolors along on camper trips through the Southwest.
She leaves behind her husband of 35 years, Johnie Jones; children Leslie Anne (son-in-law James Meiser), William Vake and Mark Richard (granddaughter Cember Sandra) Jones; siblings Susan, Mark and Tina Sampson, and their families.
She was preceded in death by parents, Reynold Vake Sampson and Mildred Goers Sampson.
A memorial will be held at Florence Evangelical Church at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.
Those who wish to remember Sandy might take a walk on the beach with a litter bag — an activity she enjoyed all her life.
Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home.