Sandra Willoughby Stanley, 74, departed the loving arms of her family and entered into the arms of her savior on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
She was preceded in death by her parents, George R. and Gladys J. Willoughby.
Sandra is survived by her husband of 47 years, Kenneth R. Stanley; two nieces, Vanessa S. Holden (Paul A.) and Shelia S. Roberson (Louis W.); five great-nieces and great-nephews, Brittany S. Chaney (Richard), Jason R. Roberson, Sara R. Holmes (Bradley), Molli P. Roberson and David A. Holden; one great-great-niece, Lillian C. Chaney; and many loved, extended family members and friends.
Raised in a musical family, Sandra began piano lessons at age seven and was a childhood prodigy. At age 12, she became the very first organist for her home church, the Fourth Street, and later Pine Valley Church of God, where she served faithfully for 62 years and played for the final time days before her passing.
Sandra was one the first music majors graduated by Wilmington College (later UNCW) with an associate’s degree in music and completed a B.S. in music education from East Carolina University. Upon graduation, she taught music at Sunset Park Middle School for several years and began a 30-year career as a private piano teacher. Sandra shared her musical gifts selflessly and generously with hundreds of students, fellow church musicians, friends and family. By conservative estimates, she accompanied thousands of weddings, funerals and other events. She was also a published composer with numerous songs published by Tennessee Music & Printing Company in annual church convention songbooks, the most recent being in 2013. Sandra’s dream was to be a concert pianist, but she chose to fulfill the Lord’s call to serve His church and others with humility, grace and faithfulness.
Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at Pine Valley Church of God with the Rev. Larry Horrell officiating. The family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the church prior to the service. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 21, in Greenlawn Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be offered in Sandra’s honor to Pine Valley Church of God, 3810 Shipyard Blvd., Wilmington, NC 28403.
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