Sandra Dawn Lacombe (née Kuhn)
September 2, 1968 – September 6, 2021
Sandra Dawn Lacombe (née Kuhn) roared into this world, earlier than expected, on Labour Day 1968 in Prince Albert, SK. She exited this world much earlier than expected on Labour Day 2021 in Calgary, AB.
Those may have been the only two times Sandra was ever early for anything.
Sandra was a force of nature. A bucking bronco mostly refusing to be tamed. If you were lucky enough to go for a ride, you almost assuredly would get thrown off from time to time. The thrill and intensity of her friendship and love were worth it.
Her mischief started early in life. Long before baby monitors and apps, Sandra’s mom, Christine Kuhn, became keenly attuned to the “giggle of trouble”. That giggle meant something would come crashing down on Sandra in the next thirty seconds if Christine did not run to the rescue.
In many ways, that was how she lived her life – fiercely, fully, intensely, and joyously. Unwavering in her values, Sandra was also sweet, funny, kind, loyal to a fault, and as ethical a human being as you will ever have the good fortune to meet. She was a tireless and fierce defender of women’s rights and took every opportunity to advance that cause.
Being on “Team Sandra” meant you had a friend for life, through thick and thin.
Sandra’s early life was so full of promise and potential. She was an ace at school. She got into university with almost no effort, such was her intellect. She earned her Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 in secret so she could do it her way, without interference.
Sandra always knew that there were two ways to do things – her way and the wrong way. Maddeningly, she was almost always right about that.
One cold Saskatoon winter day in 1990, on the way home from brunch, things literally went the wrong way for Sandra. Her young twenty-two-year-old body bore the brunt of a motor vehicle accident from which she never really recovered. Her perseverance in the ensuing thirty-odd years is a testament to her strength of character.
In spite of near-daily migraines, adrenal insufficiency, a completely dysfunctional endocrine system, concussion, whiplash and fibromyalgia, Sandra forced herself by sheer will through her last semester of a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
Her parents instilled in her a strong belief in the power of education and she was not about to give up on hers. It took her the better part of two years to do one semester of school – something she could have done with her eyes closed before the accident.
Through sheer will, grit, determination, and painkillers, Sandra dragged herself through those last few classes to convocate with her BComm in 1992.
Her professional achievements were equally impressive. Her work developing an emergency/evacuation plan for Lutheran Sunset Home in Saskatoon was widely heralded by police, fire and EMS and was used as an example for other facilities and in other jurisdictions beyond Saskatchewan and Canada. Her social conscience and good moral fibre were evidenced by her volunteer work for the Saskatchewan Abilities Council and Child Find Saskatchewan.
Her organizational and speaking skills were at the forefront as she played a key role in organizing the 1990 AIESEC (international economics) conference in Saskatoon.
A very “Sandra” moment occurred at that very conference when she met an executive from her husband Doug’s company in the washroom, informing said executive that “Doug will not be attending your talk as I told him he is coming to mine, but he would like a promotion.”
Mere weeks later, Doug got the promotion.
All this achievement came at a price. The resultant wear and tear on her body meant she would never be able to pursue a full-time career as had been her ambition, but it was plain to see her career was stunted by fate, not choice or inability.
That fate shifted Sandra’s attention to supporting Doug in his career, for their mutual benefit. Sandra’s default position was to champion and support friends and family, so this was not out of character for her. She always wanted everyone around her to thrive and succeed.
On a recently-discovered medical questionnaire, Sandra wrote “What pains me is not being able to solve the problems of those I love” and that her greatest fear was “Losing my husband, parents or sisters.”
Sandra and Doug relocated several times, often with Sandra carrying the load of packing, buying and selling homes. After relocating to Calgary, AB in 2001, Sandra was wont to say “One year, two countries, three houses – THAT’S ENOUGH!”
In Calgary, Sandra had a very active decade before her health really declined. She travelled nationally and internationally with Doug and friends, started an antiques and collectibles business, organized numerous high tea outings, read every book Doug would carry home from Calgary Reads, and cared for Doug, their dogs, friends and family with love and dedication.
In the past ten years or so, the pain got worse, the meds quit working, her body rebelled more and more, and, in 2018, cancer came.
And yet she persevered.
On September 4, 2021, Sandra suffered a stroke. It was the only enemy she was unable to face down.
Fifty-three years from her birth, almost to the hour, Sandra passed peacefully, surrounded by her husband Doug and her immediate family.
Sandra Dawn Lacombe is survived by her husband, Doug Lacombe; her parents, Christine (Christensen) and Melvin Kuhn; her sisters, Karen Kuhn (the eldest) and Coralie Kuhn (the favourite); as well as her fur baby, Hope, the adopted Schnoodle from Mexico. Sandra was predeceased by her grandparents; and two previous fur babies, Riley and Bug.
Rest in peace our dear, sweet warrior. Your pain is finally over.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family requests you consider donating to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Please tell us your own Sandra stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear them.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Sandra Dawn Lacombe September 6th 2021..
Death notice for the town of: Airdrie, Province: Alberta