Sandra Hemenway
Sandra Hemenway
Sandra Hemenway
Sandra Hemenway

Obituary of Sandra LeAnn Hemenway

Surrounded by a tight-knit loving family, Sandy Hemenway passed away on January 7, 2024. Born Sandra Leann Whitmore on July 14, 1956 to Vernita (Shaw) Crowley and Jim Whitmore. She lit up our lives with her radiant smile, and was cherished as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.

Sandy was naturally intelligent and had a generous personality. Fruitland classmates remember her as having an easy nature and enthusiasm for all kinds of activities. After graduating from Fruitland High School in 1974, she began work at First National Bank in Nyssa and continued in Ontario through several banks. She most recently worked as an officer for First Security Bank of Washington. Sandy found supporting the agriculture community and small businesses of the Western Treasure Valley personally rewarding. The long-term relationships with customers and colleagues were what motivated her to keep working. She supported various community efforts including acting as an Executive Board member and Treasurer for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for 24 years.

Sandy’s first date with a handsome Tom Hemenway at the Payette A&W led to a wedding in October 1974. Shortly thereafter she was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an identity she proudly carried for the rest of her life. Her spiritual interest began in the 3rd grade when she wondered why men thought war was okay, when she knew the Bible’s Ten Commandments prohibited murder. This and other questions fostered a search to answer life’s big questions. After much Bible study, she was confident in God’s promise of a future paradise on earth and spent many years sharing her faith with others. On the Within the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus indicated “Happy are those who are conscious of their spiritual need” (Matthew 5:3). Sandy was able to experience that happiness firsthand because of her faith.

Tom and Sandy would always be found together and were a great team throughout their marriage. Together, they built a family with three sons and a daughter. As a mom, she instilled high standards in, and expectations of, her children. She regularly organized ski trips, movie nights, pool parties, and hosted sleepovers – all the better because there was never a bedtime and boisterous fun was allowed. Her family was notable for doing so much together – a busy family life including dinners, family worship activities, game nights, and so many Boise State football memories. If she saw you tailgating at a BSU game, you would receive that warm flash of a smile and quick hug, or a hand squeeze, followed by her opinion on what the Broncos needed to accomplish in their first drive. Her zest for life included beach vacations, swimming, years of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune victories from her living room, her dogs, and family trips including ones to International Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Budapest, Trinidad, and Germany. Later she realized her dream of becoming a grandmother. She loved spending time with her grandchildren, especially swimming with them in the family pool.

It would be remiss not to mention her competitive card playing skills and insistence on playing another hand of pinochle despite the late hour. Sandy had a gentle teasing humor and loved a good prank. She had no poker face however, as her joy was evident. When she would tease or play a joke, there would often be the raise of an eyebrow and twinkling eyes.

She is survived by the love of her life and husband of 49 years, Tom, and their children: Kelley (Carissa), Shawn (Anja), Joel (Lisa), and Erin; grandchildren: Cole, Olivia, Brannin, and Lyla, her mother Vernita Crowley; sister, Marcia Whitmore (Jack Sutton); brother, Brian Whitmore; cousins, nieces, and nephews, all of whom she loved so very much. In the weeks before her death, Sandy expressed multiple times that the thing she was most proud of was her children – “not for what they do, or what they have, but for who they are as people. Their character.”

She loved life and could not stand to miss out on any fun. When she smiled, you felt it because she meant it. She dealt with her health challenges on her own terms, with her focus clearly on the future. Her hope was anchored in God’s promised paradise, where her family could be together again. We love you so much mom!

Sandy was preceded in death by her father, Jim Whitmore, and her grandparents, Roy Shaw, Lula Bell Jackson Shaw, Jim Whitmore, and Trudie Cliff Clark.  A service for Sandy will be held Saturday, January 27th at 3:00 p.m. at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 SW 5th Avenue, Ontario, Oregon. She loved pink, and if you can join us and are so inclined, feel free to embrace her favorite color. She would want us to enjoy being together. For more information, cremation arrangements are being coordinated by Accent Funeral Home, Meridian, Idaho.

If you are unable to attend in person please join us with the link below:

Meeting ID: 876 1764 1845

Passcode: 2414

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Memorial Service

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday, January 27, 2024
Four Rivers Cultural Center
676 SE 5th Avenue
Ontario, Oregon, United States
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