Sandra Jean Welsh Claytor, 72, of Lexington died peacefully at home on Jan. 17, 2018.

Sandra Jean Welsh Claytor, 72, of Lexington died peacefully at home on Jan. 17, 2018, with her husband and love of her life, Robert E. Claytor, by her side.

Sandra was born Aug. 4, 1945, and was the daughter of the late Julian Payne and Gladys Hart Welsh. She was preceded in death by her two brothers Daniel M. Welsh and John P. Welsh.

In addition to her husband, Sandra is survived by her children, Christian Duncan and wife Suzanne, Sean Duncan and wife Sondra of Lexington and her niece who was like a daughter, Lisa Kanney of McGaheysville; Robert Claytor II of Knoxville, Tenn., and Lisa Cox of Kingsport, Tenn.; grandchildren Brodie Duncan, Randi Nicely, Linden and Weston Claytor, Ireland Bateman and Carlie Cox and a great-granddaughter, Genesis. She is also survived by her nephews Byron, Tim and John Welsh; Christian Royce and Jeff Ax; nieces Cynthia Robey, Debbie Laux, Meredith Lantz and Angie Claytor; numerous great-nephews, great-nieces, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

Sandra and Bob were high school sweethearts who separated while attending different colleges, only to find each other again 30 years later when Bob returned to Lexington. They were married on May 12, 2001. Much like a wonderful storybook love tale, together they made great joy and happiness for themselves and everyone who shared in their blessed lives.

Sandra received a bachelor’s degree in education from Madison College and started her career in elementary education in Woodbridge, teaching in several school systems before finally returning to join the staff at Waddell Elementary School in Lexington. She was a dedicated teacher with a genuine love for children. Her enthusiasm for teaching and ability to find the best in everyone was a shining light to be forever remembered by the thousands of children and fellow educators she touched over the thirty-plus years of service to our youth as an educator.

To know Sandra was to love her and her love of gardening, home making and cooking. She would proudly tell anyone, she was a “Country Girl” not a “City Girl”. Sandra’s year-round passion was gardening. She enthusiastically talk about gardening and enjoyed researching plants and gardening techniques. She took great joy in buying, planting and caring for the myriad of flowers and plants varieties in her garden. Sandra could whip up a feast that could feed an army, which was her way of bringing people together. Her fried chicken, lima beans and mashed potatoes were lovingly served on her beautifully decorated table. She took great joy decorating her home to match the holiday, season, or special occasion. All this will be missed along with her special pickles, applesauce, etc., and other foods she prepared and preserved.

Sandra was a long-time member of Bethany Lutheran Church and later a member of Trinity Methodist Church. Over the years she played the organ, sang in the choir, played hand-bells, and provided religious education to the children of the church. The community, church and family bonds she formed were of the most importance to her. Sandra was a giver, a nurturer and a mother who genuinely saw the best and showed love to all she came in contact with – she lived a true, selfless Christian life, devoted to God, her family, her friends and the community. We will forever miss and love you Sandra; wife, mom, Aunt Onzy, Grandma, Loocy, Sandra Jean, Sandy, Jeannie…you were and will always be so much to so many. You are our saint now.

A memorial service honoring Sandra will be held at a later date.

In lieu of gifts, memorial contributions may be made to: Rockbridge Area Hospice, 315 Myers St. Lexington, VA 24450 or the Brain Injury Association of Virginia, 1506 Willow Lawn Dr. #212, Richmond, VA 23230.

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