Obituary of Sandra M. Shapard
Sandra M. Shapard of Glenmont, NY died peacefully at home on October 11 after a short struggle with acute myeloid leukemia. She was born August 14, 1939, in Tupelo, Mississippi, the daughter of Homer T. and Mamie Sims Marlin, who owned a gift and toy store. She is survived by her son David Shapard, also of Glenmont, by her daughter Mara Elliott, son-in-law Steven Elliott, and grandson Silas Elliott, all of Delmar, and by numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, sister Rebecca Cook, and brother Hugh Marlin.
Sandra attained a Bachelor's degree at Mississippi State College for Women, where she majored in Journalism and English and was editor of the school newspaper. Afterwards, she attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University.
From a young age, Sandra was concerned with racial discrimination, a concern that gradually extended to advocacy of rights for all members of society. As a young mother she volunteered with many groups, including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP. Her desire to make a difference led her to become increasingly active in politics, volunteering and eventually managing several political campaigns. In 1976 she took a job working for the Democratic majority in the New York State Assembly, rising to become Special Assistant to the Speaker for Intergovernmental Affairs.
In 1981, Sandra took a position as Assistant to the County Executive in Dutchess County. After three years of working with all aspects of county government, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of getting more education, earning a Master's in Public Administration at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Returning to Albany, Sandra worked at the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee, rising to Deputy Director of Budget Studies. In 1989 she became Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Transit at the Department of Transportation. She moved to the Division of the Budget, rising to First Deputy Budget Director. In 1995 she joined the Office of the State Comptroller as Deputy Comptroller for Budget and Policy Analysis.
After retiring in 2001 she turned again to extensive volunteer work. She served on the boards of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, Albany Senior Services, the Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency, the Humanities Institute for Lifelong Learning, and served as an active member of several other groups.
Among her personal interests the most prominent was a lifelong passion for books and learning. She read literally thousands of books over the course of her life, participated in several book groups, and took a variety of adult education classes. She also loved to travel, especially to art museums and historic sites, and her many trips took her to most parts of the United States and to several countries abroad. Her hobbies also included cooking, gardening, and entertaining family and friends.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 26, at 3:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 21 Hackett Boulevard, Albany. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to either the Capital City Rescue Mission or Community Hospice.