Cover photo for Sandra Donelle Day's Obituary
1941 Sandra 2023

Sandra Donelle Day

January 27, 1941 — March 23, 2023

La Mesa

 This remembrance is often paraphrased from a notebook of her life that she wrote. 
 
Sandra was born on January 27 1941 at Saint Alexis Hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota.  She was the fifth child out of eight of Emmet and Fern Carroll of Moffitt, North Dakota . She had five sisters, Darlene ( deceased), Peggy (deceased), Shirley (deceased), Kathleen and Michaelyn, she had two brothers, Darvon(deceased) and Patrick. The Carrolls were farmers and Mr. Caroll also held the Burleigh County Commissioner seat for 24 years. 
 
They were a hard working family who raised all of their food and milk and all the kids pitched in. It was a hard life on the old farmhouse, so much to do all the time but they also had so much love, good food and lots of fun times. The farmhouse didn't have electricity or running water until 1950 and then it was electricity only, they had a windmill to pump water from their well. 
 
After Fern got really sick with Rheumatic Fever in 1951 Emmet decided then and there that she was going to have it easier so he ordered one of those pre-cut Capp Homes and built it on the Moffitt ball diamond which was his land ( don't worry they built another ball field across the highway by the school and everyone was happy!) With this new house the family enjoyed running water, flush toilet, furnace etc for the first time, very exciting! They could see Long Lake and The Butte from their living room. 
 
Sandra first attended high school in Bismarck at Saint Mary's Catholic High School with a few other local girls, their parents rented them an apartment and they cooked and cleaned for themselves. Each weekend the girl's folks would come get them and supply them with their weeks worth of food and the girls would do their laundry, each family took turns supplying the meats and other food. Each weekend Sandra would make a big cake to bring back to Bismarck, one time she mistakenly used salt instead of sugar, quite yucky! When she was a sophomore, Moffitt and a neighboring town called Hazelton struck a deal where H.S. students from Moffitt could attend high school in Hazelton, it was only 14 miles from the house so she was happy to be able to stay home and go to school! 
 
Sandra met Don Day when they were 15 years old and sophomores at Hazelton high, he flirted with her a lot and later asked her out, they dated off and on and in their senior year they went to prom together, she remembers he was smart and funny and the one for her. 
 
Sandra went into nurse training school at Saint Alexis hospital after graduation and Don volunteered for the draft and went into the army, he was stationed near Monterey, Ca. Sandra quit nursing school and took a business course at Bismarck Junior College. She got her first job at Lahr and Lahr Insurance in Bismarck and liked it a lot, it began her career of working in insurance. Don went to France with the army, he came home for a short time for his dad's funeral. He was discharged in 1962 and Don and Sandra got engaged! 
 
They were married September 8, 1962 at St. Pauls Catholic Church in Hazelton, North Dakota. It rained but that didn't matter at all! Fern and the Mother's club put on a nice dinner and reception at the Moffitt hall and a dance afterwards.
 
Sandra always wanted to live in San Diego where two of her sister's lived so shortly after they were married they packed up their wedding gifts and clothes and headed for San Diego, honeymooning on the way. Sandra was able to find a job in El Cajon but Don couldn't find work so they had to return home where Emmett had gotten Don a job in the Welfare office in Bismarck. Shortly after they arrived Sandra found out she was pregnant! Brant Richard Day was born on July, 9, 1963 and Sandra and Don were elated! He was perfect!  
 
Don took different jobs and then he enrolled in Bismarck Junior College. After he graduated they moved to Fargo and he enrolled in NDSU. Sandra and Don both worked while Don was attending university. They enjoyed Fargo though the winters were tough. In Don's senior year Sandra became pregnant with Tana, during which time she suffered an appendicitis attack and had to have emergency surgery, she was so sick. When they got back to Fargo she was still so sick,  she found out she had duplicate health insurance so got enough money out of the policy that she could quit her job and take care of Brant and herself, she was so happy! 
 
Don graduated from NDSU and they moved to Dickinson . Sandra didn't want to have Tana there because her old doctor was in Bismarck and this doctor in Dickinson was a radical who didn't believe in pain control etc (!). So closer to the birth she moved back to her folks house to be nearer the hospital. Tana was born September 6 , 1967. 
 
when she was less than a year Don began working as a social worker and really enjoyed it, he wanted to become a County Director in the western part of the state but Sandra was depressed with the long winters and longed to go back to San Diego to try and make a go of it again. So they packed up a trailer they bought for $200 and moved their family to San Diego, Brant was 6 and Tana was almost 2. At first the family stayed with Sandra's sister Risty ( Darlene) and her husband Jake and their kids. They stayed from August until November when Don finally got his fantastic job as a social worker for the county of San Diego. They moved into a rented house in the Rolando area of San Diego, and after that rented 2 more apartments and a duplex until they bought their first house in 1976, very exciting!  They loved having their own home for the very first time. Sandra had several different jobs until she started working at Lonergan insurance where she worked for 11 years. In 1988 Don retired from the county on disability, Sandra decided she should retire too and they bought a motorhome and decided to travel the US. They had many fun adventures. Their full time RV life was short lived so they could come back and care for Brant who had been battling mental illness for years, they began a new life living simply in an rv park in sunny El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. In 1994 Brant met someone and soon they were expecting a baby, sadly the relationship did not work out and Brants wife Pam was unable to care for their daughter, Addah Anne Day who was born on April 12, 1995. Eventually Sandra and Don adopted Addah and she came to live in San Diego with them in the house they raised Brant and Tana, she was about 18 months old. 
 
In 2003 Don became sick with Prostrate cancer and received radiation treatment.. not long after he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis for which there is no cure. Don and Sandra and Tana ( who had married and divorced Aaron Emerson from 1993 to 2003) invested in a new house together in La Mesa. It's a wonderful house on a quiet street close to everything. Don passed away on November 26, 2007 at home. Brant met and started dating a wonderful lady he knew from high school, Kelly. They now live together not far from the La Mesa house. Tana and Aaron got back together in 2012 and remarried in 2014, much to the joy of Sandra! Sandra became ill with renal failure in October of 2013, she decided not to attempt a transplant believing that at her age the surgery would be too risky and instead began hemodialysis. She went to the dialysis center 3 days a week for 3 and a half hours.. Tana took her and picked her up. End Stage Renal Failure is a progressive disease and most people on dialysis have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years, Sandra beat those odds by living almost 10 years on dialysis! Not to mention she also suffered from heart failure and high blood pressure. Sandra overcame those odds and continued to enjoy life and casino outings and day road trips and beach drives with a stop at her favorite shrimp and chips place up until about late 2022. She started to have very few days where she felt good. We really wanted her to feel better but it was getting so hard for her. She was hospitalized in early March after suffering a severe shortness of breath attack, her prognosis was not fantastic but we still held hope that she could again beat all odds. However she was battling too many illnesses including a blood infection, her body was just so tired of fighting, she made the decision to go into hospice care and discontinue hemodialysis, we brought her home on Saturday March 11. Tana took a leave from her job to care for her mother in her final days, sleeping beside her hospital bed , it was an honor for her to do so as her mother was the absolute best person she had ever known. 
 
 Aaron and Tana live with Aaron's daughter Chelsea in the house in La Mesa and cared for Sandra throughout her illness and up until the very last day.
 
 Addah married a childhood friend's brother (Allen)and they had Damien Day, this little guy has been the light of Sandra's life since he was born almost 6 years ago! Addah and Damien would come to visit Sandra and she would be so happy, he was her little buddy and they had so much fun together! She always said " he's such a good boy" and he truly is, a very caring, compassionate, polite and sweet little guy . Definitely Sandra's favorite! 
 
We will all very much miss our mom, grandma, sister, aunt and friend. Sandra was truly a special lady, so very kind and sweet and caring, she helped anyone who needed it and spread joy with her sweet smile wherever she went. 
 
She is survived by her children Brant Day (Kelly) Tana Emerson (Aaron) and Addah Day ( granddaughter by birth) Her great grandson Damien Day, her sisters Kathleen Neideffer( Bill) and Mikie Moch,  her brother Patrick Carroll ( Sharon) . Multiple loving nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews and loving friends. 
 
The family would be so appreciative for any kind words or stories you would like to share about our amazing mother,  we thank you for visiting this page. Love and Light ❤️

 

Service to be held on Monday, May 15 at 11:30 AM at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery  (please plan to arrive at the office by 11:00 AM)
 
 
Please join the Day family for a light reception after the service at : 
 
2612 Deerpark Dr.
San Diego, CA 92110 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sandra Donelle Day, please visit our flower store.

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Graveside for Sandra Donelle Day

Monday, May 15, 2023

11:30am - 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

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