Sandra Lee O’Connor (nee Smith) passed peacefully in Taos, NM on May 8th, 2021. She chose to spend her last days in Taos, a place she loved and had lived, and it gave her peace that it would be her final resting place. She is survived by sister Stacey Smith-Arlt; her children Claire Allison, Heather Lynn, Bradley Stuart and Jennifer Lee, her grandchildren—Alexa, Jake, Spencer, Jordan, Croix, Paige, Lauren, Liam, and was the long-time guardian to Zachary, son of Sandra’s recently deceased son, Daniel Stephen.
Sandra was born in 1940 to Albert Wesley (Bill) Smith, Jr and Wilma (Elaine) Smith (nee Laird) in San Bernardino CA. She graduated from Alamogordo High School, attended the University of New Mexico briefly, and completed her undergraduate degree at California State University, San Bernardino.
Sandra married Connie Mack Gilliland in 1959. They had four children prior to their divorce. Sandra then married Michael Frederick O’Connor who was father to Daniel. As a single parent Sandra was no stranger to making ends meet in creative ways—this cultivated in her children a strength, creativity, and work ethic that has served them well. Her many hardships lead to her life-long pursuit of truth and a search for life’s meaning, resulting in deep, spiritual quests for knowledge. Later in life, she found the Institute for Devine Metaphysical Research and lived in their teachings until her end.
Sandra was a woman of many talents—honor student, first chair violinist, actor, actress, painter, book author, investigative journalist and photographer, advocate, medical transcriptionist, employment adviser, web-based business operator, and manager.
Sandra’s family and friends celebrate her life; her resolute endurance of its many hardships; her delight of life’s joys; her fierce loyalty; her passionate commitment to her beliefs; her flair for the dramatic and for wearing her heart on her sleeve;and for a life spent living her truth. Donations in her honor can be made to S.A.F.E House or New Mexico Autism Society.
The family of Sandra Lee O’Connor has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. www.devargastaos.com