Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Sandra Louis Greenlief Sacry, 75

Sandra "Sandy" Lois Greenlief Sacry was born in Missoula, Montana, on January 20th, 1948, to parents Robert and Roberta "Sis" Greenlief. Her parents lived on the Salish and Kootenai Reservation when Sandy was born, so she was a proud member of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes and on the tribal rolls her whole life, something she loved to remind her brother Denny.

As a child, she grew up all over Montana, with Meaderville, Cardwell, Whitehall, and Anaconda holding her fondest memories. She went to grade school in Cardwell and high school in Whitehall until her junior year, when her family moved to Anaconda, where she graduated in 1966. Along with her brother and sister, Sandy had a big family of cousins, aunts, and uncles. Many lived nearby in Missoula, Butte, and Whitehall, and Sandy was very fond of and close to many of her cousins, a bond that remained very strong throughout her life.

While living in Cardwell, Sandy met the Sacry family, who became a second family to her. Susan Sacry Erickson was her first best friend. Sandy lived with Susan in Kansas City for the last part of her life, and the two continued their lifelong friendship of supporting each other. Sandy had a close bond with all the Sacrys throughout her life, boasting she was the "fun" aunt.

Sandy found that she had the skill and aptitude for helping others. When she was young, she helped a relative with gangrene when no one else would and seemed to have found her calling.

In 1966, Sandy went to nursing school in Independence, Missouri, at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital, where she made several deep connections to some very special lifelong friends. Nursing became a dedicated part of her life from that moment forward. Sandy graduated in June 1969 as an RN.

Following nursing school, Sandy married Dennis Sacry on August 16, 1969, and moved to Omaha, Nebraska. There, she began her nursing career and started a family while Dennis went to dental school. They moved back to the Whitehall/Cardwell area in 1974. Dennis and Sandy were married for 22 years until April 23, 1991.

Sandy epitomized lifelong learning. In the early days of her marriage, when she was taking care of her young children, she was, among other things, an aerobics instructor, a Color Me A Season consultant, a wedding cake decorator, assisted with the Whitehall High School Home Economics Department, and supported Dennis' dental practice as a dental assistant.

Sandy returned to full-time nursing in 1990 at Rivendell Child Behavioral Hospital in Butte, where she eventually became the Director of Nursing. Sandy was a born leader and handled people with grace and proficiency as a manager. This exceptional leadership and dedication elevated her to the administrative side of nursing. She relocated to Arkansas at the quest of Rivendell for several years. During this time, Sandy completed her online Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Health from Graceland University and graduated with the class of 2000.

From Arkansas, Sandy moved to the Kansas City area, where both of her daughters and their children live. While in Kansas City, she again showed her fortitude for learning by jumping into real estate and briefly owning and managing a mobile home park. Sandy continued her nursing career there, becoming the Director of Nursing at Brown Mackie College-Kansas City, combining her two passions, teaching and nursing. In 2007, Sandy received her Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Health Care Education.

Sandy's heart remained in Montana, and in 2008, she moved back to her old house in Whitehall on Third Street to be closer to her mother and other family. That same year, Sandy took her final job as the Director of Nursing at the University of Montana Helena College. During this time, she commuted from Whitehall to Helena, staying with lifelong friends Ginnie Ruth and Bob Vanmeter.

Sandy worked tirelessly as the Director of Nursing, and through her dedication and commitment to excellence in education, she helped make Helena College a top school for nursing in Montana. She was so proud when, in 2019, rncareers.org named Helena College the number one nursing program in the nation. Sandy retired from this job on her birthday in 2021.

Sandy was a certified integrative nutritional coach and representative on the Montana Board of Nursing. She also served as the Jefferson County Health commissioner during the COVID-19 pandemic, a challenge she handled with the fortitude she was known for, putting her managerial and interpersonal skills to the test.

In the last several years Sandy became interested in helping families and individuals with their personal finances and became a teacher for the Dave Ramsey personal finance system. She also worked to launch training to help women build their financial freedom. She just loved to learn and share knowledge with people.

As is the case with people like Sandy, who influenced numerous people throughout her life, there are countless untold stories from any number of people, each with their own example of how she influenced them. If you are one of these people, please share these stories with Sandy's family.

Sandy passed away on January 15th, 2024, surrounded by her family. Sandy's biggest love was her family, especially her grandchildren. Sandy is survived by her brother, Denny, and sister-in-law, Linda Greenlief; daughter, Deb Sacry Schaefer and her husband, Brian Schaefer, and their kids, Kayla, Greyson, and Makenna; her son, Scott Sacry and his wife Amy Sacry, and their kids, Madeline and Avery; her daughter Tiffany Sacry Jenkins and her husband, Russ Jenkins, and their kids, Rhett and Piper.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Roberta Greenlief, and her sister, Tammy.

All are welcome at her memorial service on July 6th at 11 AM at the Sacry Ranch in Cardwell. Sandy asked that memorials be made to the Whitehall Community of Christ Church.

 

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