WILMINGTON – Sandra Marie Volpini Dempsey, 79, of Wilmington, passed away Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.
Today I sit here and think of my mother. For those who never met her I am going to introduce you to the strongest woman I knew and admired. My mother was born in 1937, when women were supposed to be nurses or schoolteachers. Not mine – she was a mechanical engineer at 18 years of age for Caterpillar. She wore pantsuits and worked primarily with men. Because of this she used to say she had a black belt in tongue – as in, she was not afraid to use her words, and she encouraged all of us (me and my two sisters) to do the same. She taught us to respectfully challenge authority, to never be embarrassed to ask questions, never let them see you sweat, never be intimidated (by anyone), never rely on anyone but yourself financially. She changed her religious belief because ours didn’t allow women as priests and she was raising three girls who should have the right to be anything they want to be. And yes, that included being a president.
Mom is survived by her husband, William Edward Dempsey; her daughters, Deborah K. Lockwood of Wilmington, Dori Dempsey-Reick and her husband John of Clayton, and Deanna Davis and her husband Russell of Burgaw; her grandchildren, Daniel and Caleigh Lockwood, Spencer and Jacob Reick, and Joseph and Jackie Karam; and her sister Carmen Lund.
My mom was a feminist in the purest form, as our role model. She taught us just enough cynicism, realism and optimism to be well-rounded. She would discuss the “God particle” with my youngest and fishing with my oldest. She would tell you the truth whether you wanted to hear it or not, and then tell you “I calls them likes I sees them” and most of the time she was right. But most importantly she taught us humanity, humility and most importantly humor – the ability to laugh at adversity, fear, at each other and mostly at ourselves. We were taught to find humor in everyone or thing. My mother is amazing and if you met her you found this out quickly. If not, you now know. Pay it forward. I love you, mom!
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