As the sun rose, on Oct. 9, 2014, Sandi Severn closed her eyes, breathed her last breath and left us. The daughter of Winston and Louise (Hill) Robbins, Sandi was born on Aug. 3, 1946, in Portland. She graduated from Falmouth High School in 1964 and three years later graduated from the University of Maine at Portland (now the University of Southern Maine) with a degree in English and a minor in education.
After graduation, Sandi moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where a favorite aunt resided. There she began her career in the health field with Aetna. A few years later, one of her best friends from high school told her that her brother, Ben Severn, was moving into the area to work on his advanced degree and asked Sandi to introduce him to the area. She did that as well as marrying him just four months later on Jan. 31, 1969. Their only child, Amy was born on Oct. 8, 1972.
In 1974, they moved to the Washington, D.C., area, where Sandi continued working for Aetna and Ben began his career with USAID. In 1979, the family moved to Panama for Ben’s job. While there, Sandi worked for Oklahoma University and earned her master’s degree in human resources. In 1983, the family returned to Washington, D.C., where Sandi continued her work in the health field. In 1987, the family followed Ben’s career to Nairobi, Kenya where Sandi, not known to let grass grow under her feet, quickly immersed herself in a USAID agricultural project. Weekends and vacations were spent on Safari trips throughout Kenya, with many a short trip to the Nairobi National Park to just sit in the car with Ben and watch the giraffes as they roamed around, and often with just Amy while Ben traveled around the continent.
While in Kenya Sandi offered her home as a place for Peace Corp. volunteers to come for a hot shower and a home cooked meal while they were in town. This sparked several friendships that have remained after all these years. After four years in Kenya, the family moved back to the D.C. area for just a few months and then moved to the Dominican Republic. In 1992 Sandi and Ben came back to their home in the Washington, D.C., area.
Given her experiences oversea and working with USAID, Sandi found a great fit in her job as a contracts officer with Family Health International working on grants and contracts for a project called AIDSCAP, helping to control the spread of AIDS in under developed countries.
In 2000, Sandi and Ben retired to a 10 family association at the very southern end of Panther Pond in Raymond, ‘The Home of the Land Locked Salmon,’ that flows into Sebago Lake. Sandi particularly enjoyed sharing their lake front home with family and friends. She continued her work with Family Health International from home for a few years. Always one to be kept busy, over time she became involved with the Raymond Public Library, and to maintain data bases for the Panther Pond Association and the Raymond Waterways Protective Association and to write many of their thank you letters. As the ultimate shopper of bargains, she loved to show everyone how much, well, how little she paid for a shirt or a pair of pants she bought at GW Designs (Goodwill) or Sal’s Boutique (Salvation Army) .
When grandson Jack was seven years old he started attending Camp Nana and Grandpappy for at least a week before Amy and her husband David arrived for their annual vacation at the lake. As the informational hub for extended family, Sandi loved having family gatherings at the lake during the summer to catch up with her siblings, nieces, nephews and even the grandnieces and nephews, creating lasting memories for all.
It was Sandi’s green thumb and love of order and beauty that led her to bring a common area filled with rocks and high and low blueberry bushes under control and to build beautiful flower beds in front of the house looking toward Panther Pond. Her battle with deer over her hosta was legendary, with her shaved Irish spring soap bindings winning the day.
Surviving are her husband Ben; daughter Amy Brown, son-in-law David, and grandson Jack; sister Joan Jagolinzer, brother Win Robbins and his wife Penny; Ben’s siblings Eveleen, Charnette and Ken; along with numerous nieces, nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews whom she adored.