Sandra Klateman Fischer, 80, passed away in Boca Raton following a long illness, never once losing her inner strength and indomitable spirit that bound her loving family together.
A private burial was held April 1 at Beth Israel Cemetery.
Sandy leaves behind generations of family, countless friends bereft by her loss, communities made better by her presence, a most coveted recipe box, and a handful of lucky women across the country now sporting her vintage handbag collection.
Sandy grew up in the Washington D.C. area where generations of her family owned and operated (to this day) Palace Florists. She met Mickey Fischer, the love of her life, on a blind date at the University of Miami, where she was a student. Smitten, he proposed after returning from service in Korea and they married in Washington, D.C., in 1960. They looked forward to celebrating 60 years of marriage in only a few weeks.
The young couple moved to Mississippi that same year, where Mickey worked in his family’s lamp manufacturing business, first in Kosciusko and later in Jackson. Sandy brought a city savvy to the Deep South in a way that didn’t always easily mesh. The civil rights movement was in full swing in the South, and the Fischers settled in Jackson among progressive neighbors who supported Freedom Riders and spoke out against racism.
The quintessential Jewish mother, Sandy successfully raised (and nagged) a trio of children who, to this day, would not dream of leaving the house without breakfast or a jacket. She loved them madly, despite the fact she was chronically late fetching them from school, and occasionally forgot them altogether.
Her home was always filled with the aromas of her cooking, sounds of fabulous music, and a deep love for her family. Her kids — Marcy, Jana, and Brian — developed a fondness for her favorites such as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand. Show tunes, opera, and standards would blare through the stereo fueling afternoon baking marathons for Sandy and their beloved housekeeper Virgie — a scene reminiscent of a New York deli, buzzing with activity, intoxicating aromas, and stellar music.
The kitchen was unquestionably Sandy’s domain. For many years she wrote the popular column, “In the Kitchen with Sandy and Friends” for The Northside Sun. Sandy and Virgie would cook for days, preparing for the Jewish holidays. Her children still savor the whiffs of brisket that, as school kids, would greet them as they tumbled out of carpool at the end of the driveway.
A tireless volunteer, Sandy devoted energies to civic causes and cultural organizations with work for Meals on Wheels, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the USA International Ballet Competition. Having experienced respiratory illness throughout her life, Sandy became involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the state level then proudly served on the national board. As an active member of the Beth Israel Sisterhood, she’d start preparing for the annual bazaar months in advance to make up to 30 cheesecakes for the event. Her cheesecakes and chocolate mousses became famous in those circles.
She and Mickey shared a passion for art collecting and for many years Sandy enjoyed art lessons from Jackson artist, Myra Green, fueling more of her creative energy.
Sandy and Mickey moved to Boca Raton, Fla. in 1995 following his retirement, where they enjoyed years of sunshiny days filled with family, both new and old friends, and great times together.
Her family fondly recalls Sandy’s propensity for lateness, as she always tried to fit in one more errand at the last minute. Her kids long joked that she’d probably run late for her own funeral. And God bless her, she’s done everything she could to make that happen.
Marcy, Jana, and Brian knew how lucky they were having their extraordinary mom. Marcy can typically be seen sporting one of her mom’s hand knitted scarves (another one of Sandy’s creative endeavors) at her art gallery openings. Brian, the baby, and always said to be the favorite, took tremendous delight in always being the center of attention. He loved watching his mom’s face light up whenever he walked in the room. Jana, they soon found out, possessed more of Sandy’s strength and extraordinary qualities than they ever knew. The love, tenderness, compassion, and commitment Jana gave to her mother in her last two years was nothing short of heroic. Jana has truly been the most remarkable daughter and sister Marcy, Brian, and Sandy could ever have.
In addition to the love she had for her children and grandchildren was the love and adoration for her baby sister, Donna. Growing up, Sandy cared for and looked after her little sister. Then through the years, as Sandy’s health declined, Donna cared and looked out for her sister, Sandy. The bond and love they share for one another is immeasurable.
Sandy is survived by her loving husband, Mickey; her dearest sister Donna (Steve); her children, Marcy (Gilbert), Jana, and Brian (Agnieszka); grandchildren, Alexander (Katie), Spencer, Micah, and Noah; great grandson, Beckett; dearest cousins, Lynn and Dick; a group of the most special and endearing nieces and nephews she loved as her own; a fun loving and amazing group of Mahjong girls in Boca; and countless more loving friends.
Although our hearts are shattered by her loss, we know how fortunate our lives have been enriched with the magnitude of Sandy’s indomitable love.
In memory of Sandy, she would love for you to blare your favorite Barbara Streisand or Johnny Mathis song, bake your favorite dessert, and if so inclined, a donation to Beth Israel or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, would be lovely.