Edna Mary (Eddie) Sands was born May 29, 1920 at the blue ribbon ranch in Albuquerque, NM. Her parents, Catherine and Maynard Coombs, were caretakers of the ranch. She had a wonderful childhood with her two brothers, Bud and Babe Coombs. They were fortunate their father was a timekeeper for the Santa Fe railroad and never lost his job during the depression.
Edna Mary attended Albuquerque high where she was queen of the prom in 1936. After the prom, she caught a train to Las Cruces for the New Mexico state year ending prom escorted by her mother. A week later she attended the New Mexico military Institute ball and she was driven by her escort’s father. In those days it was very important to be properly chaperoned. After graduation, she started a new job and had worked only two weeks when her grandmother sent her money for a trip to Maine. Her great new boss said, “you can’t pass up on an opportunity like that” and gave her a two-week vacation with pay.
One day after work, she walked past an Albuquerque photography studio and the owner came out and asked her if he could take her picture to put in the window for advertisement. She later stopped by and asked if it was helping advertise his business. He said, “I don’t know, but everybody wants to know who the girl in the window is.” This is the picture that was in his window.
Her next job was with Cutter Carr flying service as a secretary. The number one rule was “you do not date cadets.” She took flying lessons. One day she was hitting spot landings called “touch and goes” in a piper cub. A young navy cadet was watching and was impressed with the pilot’s performance. He was shocked to see a girl step out with her FAA inspector. She was certified and got her pilots license in 1942. Several weeks later she was dancing with friends at the Hilton Hotel and Bob Sands saw her again. He asked Eddie to dance, took his date home, and returned. They saw each other daily as she was working at Cutter and he was doing his basic flight training. Needless to say, the no dating cadets rule was broken. In 1943 they were secretly married in Santa Barbara, CA. Navy cadets were not allowed to be married and if discovered, would be demoted to seaman first class.
Bob left the Navy and joined the Air Force. They lived in Florida during training and in Texas as a flight instructor. Eddie always found a job wherever they went. She worked at florists, hospitals, secretarial jobs, and as a switch board operator.
Bob joined the Air National Guard as a flight instructor in Albuquerque. They had five children, Pat, Jesse, Bobby, Billy and Kathy Sands-McCorkle. It wasn’t all raising children for Eddie. She enjoyed gardening, watching the birds at her feeders, horse races, golf, betting on football, hunting, fishing and water skiing at the family cabin in El Vado. She had a tremendous love for animals and picked up every stray that came by our property.
Bob became base commander of the Air National Guard. They attended many formal military functions. One of our most memorable occasion was the annual Christmas open house “bash” attended by air guard pilots and air guard friends, golfing friends, friends of friends, and all the children’s friends. Guests started arriving around 10 in the morning and stayed all day. It was so much fun with so many wonderful memories. Eddie put out a beautiful buffet and Bob made his famous Tom and Jerry’s.
Mom was a wonderful cook. We had breakfast and dinner together as a family every day. Sundays, after church, she had her parents over for fried chicken with homemade biscuits and the best gravy. Eddie made hand beaten fudge at Christmas for family and friends. She gave generously to charities. She was always putting together boxes for the less fortunate and baking cookies for the PTA.
She loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We will all miss her so much, but we find comfort knowing she has gone home to her maker, and is reunited with her loved ones in a better place. She was given loving care by her children and daughter-in-law, Gloria Sands. Her son, Pat, was her 24/7 caretaker which allowed her to stay in her home. He was so wonderful with her. They had a special bond that was beautiful to see. Eddie was attended by Compassus home hospice with Krystal as her weekly nurse. Eddie Sands remained pain free the entire time, and our prayers were answered as she passed peacefully in her sleep on September 29, 2019. Per Eddies wishes, she will be cremated and there will not be a service. If you wish, please donate to your favorite charity.
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