Sandra (Sandy) Jean Altland of Palisade passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 85 years old. She was a brave, generous, and loving soul and she made the world a richer place with her stories and living by example.
Sandy was born on September 19, 1937 in Denver, CO. She was the daughter of the late Ruby Wells and Jack and Erma Arnold.
She attended schools in Fruita and Grand Junction, CO before starting a family at a very young age.
Sandy married Carroll Ely on November 1, 1952 in Grand Junction, CO. They divorced in 1969. Sandy married Charles (Bud) Altland on January 1, 1971.
Sandy was a checker at Thriftway and Safeway in her early years. Later, she and Bud owned and operated Palisade Cleaners for over 50 years before retiring and selling the business. Running the business was hard work but Sandy absolutely loved getting to know her customers—and later her customer’s children and even grandchildren over the decades. When retirement came, she never missed the work but she did miss being a friendly, joyous part of the day for so many people. Later, she found that same joy in building friendships and playing piano at church.
Sandy was a member of the Palisade United Methodist Church for many years where she served as the volunteer pianist/organist. The last service she played was on Mother’s Day in May 2023. She was recognized by the Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church as a “Quiet Disciple” in 2021 for her outstanding achievements and tireless efforts to her Church and community of faith.
Sandy learned to play piano at a very young age and was so very talented. She played classical tunes as well as contemporary pieces—often playing many songs by ear. She volunteered her talents for others to enjoy by playing piano at St. Mary’s Hospital and HopeWest. Her music created a soothing space filled with comfort and love.
If you knew Sandy at all, you knew she was a Denver Bronco fan through and through. She often would be watching reruns of the Super Bowl games on her TV.
She loved to fish at Vega where she caught her 4.5 pound trout. Camping and being outdoors gave her great joy. She was also quite lucky playing slot machines and she looked forward to her periodic gambling trips.
Sandy was blessed to have many close friends and school classmates. She enjoyed going on adventures, having coffee and dinner, celebrating birthdays, and visiting on the phone with friends and family. Sandy was such a caring, loving, and giving person who was a model of unconditional love, kindness, and generosity. Her passing has left an indelible void in all our lives.
Sandy is survived by son Steve Ely of Boulder, son David Ely of Palisade, daughter Robin Ely (Connie Olson) of Fruita, step-daughters Teri (Jim) Christakos of Monument, Kelley (Tim) Trierweiler of Strasberg, Denise Madsen of Grand Junction, sister Patty Congdon, grandchildren Luke (Rebecca) Erikson, Ryan Fitzgerald, Alex Martin, Danielle (Kyle) Norris, Nick Trierweiler, JamieLee Smith and Jessica Smith as well as several nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren.
Sandy was preceded in death by her husband Bud Altland, first husband Carroll Ely, brother Dick Wells, parents Ruby Wells and Jack & Erma Arnold, and step-daughter Diana Altland.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to Mom’s HopeWest team. Your care and compassion is unmatched. You truly are angels on earth.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at the Palisade United Methodist Church, 365 Main Street, Palisade, CO on Saturday, August 5th at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Sandy’s name can be made to HopeWest Hospice Care, 3090 N. 12th Street, Grand Junction, CO 81506 (or) Palisade United Methodist Church, P.O. Box L, Palisade, CO. 81526.