Cover photo for Sandra Nickel's Obituary
Sandra Nickel Profile Photo
1945 Sandra 2022

Sandra Nickel

August 15, 1945 — June 27, 2022

Sandy was born August 15, 1945, in Atchison, Kansas to William Howard and Mary Kathryn (Gorrell) Glavin and was the oldest of their five children. She passed from this life on Monday, June 27, 2022, surrounded by her loving family.

Sandy was known for her intellect, her ability to make almost anything fun and her magnetic personality. She was raised in Sedalia, Missouri where she attended Sacred Heart School. Her family moved to Kansas City as Sandy entered college where she was a student at Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. She graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where she later received her teaching certificate and a masters degree in Education Administration. She made lifelong friends at these schools whom she cherished spending time with.

Of all of her accomplishments, her greatest source of pride was her four children. She was an amazing mom who always put her kids needs in front of her own, she was truly their number one fan. Each child had a unique and special relationship with her, and this group was her most cherished part of life. Her love and dedication for her grandchildren was unconditional. Any sporting event, school event or activity she was always there, actively participating. She loved family gatherings and truly valued the gift of being a mother, wife, and grandmother.

Her passion was education. She went back to school to attain her teaching certificate in 1983 and began the career journey that would have an unprecedented impact. Each of her students, their parents, her peers and colleagues, the teachers and administrators in her circle and the communities she served felt the passion and care that defined her. A true champion of education, she was honored with the Principal of the Year designation in 2000, and St. Elizabeth School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence under her leadership.

On June 26, 1999, she married Tom and began a new chapter in her life. They had a shared past from college, that was rekindled later in life, and they would spend the rest of her life together. Toms dedication and love for Sandy was obvious to everyone. This union allowed her family to grow, and she embraced Toms children and family like her own. Together they enjoyed traveling, sporting events and especially their favorite annual trip to Arizona to see the Royals spring training games.
Her love of history, especially the Civil war, would transition her into retirement, serving as a docent at The John Wornall House and The Alexander Majors House. Here, her love of storytelling, educating and sharing history was in full force. Sandy would read every landmark sign she came across and use any opportunity to learn and share the history she found everywhere, from Civil War signage, following her roots back to Ireland and day trips to historic sites with her grandkids.
Sandy was a fierce advocate for social justice who believed in being a part of the solution by acting on her strong beliefs. Whether through her letters to the editor or a strong and compelling debate, she steadfastly supported her beliefs. If you were foolish enough to challenge her, you would leave that argument duly humbled.

Sandy was a long-time parishioner at St. Elizabeth; the school and parish held a special place in her heart. So many milestones happened here, she served as principal at the school for 15 years, she married Tom there, and all her grandchildren attended the school at some point.

Sandy is preceded in death by her parents, and her brother, Timothy Glavin. She leaves behind her husband, Tom Nickel and her children, George (Megan) Kopp, Debby (Mike) Allmon, Amy (Eric) Baker and Christy (Brian) DeFrain, she leaves an amazing legacy in her grandchildren George V, Vince, and Phillip Kopp; Mary and Robert Allmon; Abby, Hannah, and Libby Baker; Trevor and Mia Hill and Will DeFrain. Her siblings Bill Glavin (Patty Wieniger), Pat (Tina) Glavin and Carol (Jim) Connole, and her extended family Matthew (Brenda, Avery, and Bryce) Nickel, Justin Nickel, and Jonathan (Katelyn, Kinsley, and Ford) Nickel
Mom remained a teacher to the very end. She modeled for all of us the process of ending a life well-lived with dignity, humor, and lots of quiet courage. A special thank you to Carla and Stephanie for caring for Sandy and our whole family during this difficult time.

Visitation Wednesday, July 6th at 9:30AM followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00AM at St. Elizabeth Church 2 East 75th Street, Kansas City, MO

In lieu of flowers please donate to St. Elizabeth School.

Private burial at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Atchison, KS.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sandra Nickel, please visit our flower store.


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