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Roberta "Sandy" Sandburg
(1937 - 2009)

On June 16, 2009, Roberta "Sandy" Sandburg, the founder of the Alice B Awards, lost her battle with lung cancer. She was 72. Her partner of 36 years, Kay Percy, was at Sandy's side in the hospital during the final weeks of her life.

Sandy envisioned the Alice B Awards a decade or so ago, and in 2004 decided to make the awards a reality by committing funds from "an anonymous donor." A lifelong reader who was passionate about lesbian fiction, Sandy wanted to thank and reward the authors who had given her so much joy, and she did so by establishing the Alice B fund and gathering a group of women who became the Alice B Readers Appreciation Committee.

Sandy bought and read pretty much every lesbian novel and story/anthology collection that came out each year and devoted an entire room in her house to her library. She didn't accept "freebie" copies from authors, publishers, or fans because she wanted to offer financial support to the creators of the works. To the end, she was a staunch supporter of lesbian writing.

She also read a lot of other materials and was a political force to be reckoned with. Sandy's beliefs were strong, especially in the areas of human, civil, and women's rights, and she voiced her support with passion and care.

In addition to reading, Sandy had many interests including raising mini-horses with her twin brother who had the property to stable them, and Sandy and Kay spent a lot of time there. Sandy also loved to design buildings. She'd supervise all aspects and help with the labor to construct barns, additions, gazebos, woodsheds, etc. One of her dreams was to live in a trailer on a site while she helped to build a house. Later, when the building was completed, she said wryly that it wasn't near as much fun as she thought it would be.

Second only to reading (and Kay, of course), Sandy loved music. She played guitar and sang with a lovely, husky contralto. She shared that love of music with others, swapping music, singing duets, and enjoying the deep tones of her trusty guitar.

Her partner Kay said that Sandy was brave to the end, despite radiation treatments and time spent on the ventilator. In her life, Sandy overcame many obstacles, but the mass in her lungs was something she couldn't defeat.

Anais Nin once wrote: "People living deeply have no fear of death." Sandy wasn't afraid. She lived each day fully. She lived deeply - and passionately - and she loved deeply as well. Her love and humor and generous spirit will be missed by all who knew her.

Sandy wanted to see the Alice B Awards go on, so the Committee will be working for the rest of 2009 and into the future to honor her wish. You can continue to carry on her legacy by buying, reading, and praising lesbian fiction. That's what she would want.

Memorials

Sandy and Kay's most fervent wish is that anyone who cares about Sandy and/or the mission of the Alice B organization will make donations (or purchases) from brick-and-mortar or online lesbian bookstores. Let the stores know that you are supporting them in Sandy's honor.

Emails of support can be sent to:

AliceB at AliceBAwards.org

For what is it to die,
But to stand in the sun
and melt into the wind?


~Kahlil Gibran,
from "The Prophet"


© 2011 Alice B. Reader Appreciation Committee