Sandra H. Dashiell Downing transitioned this life into eternal rest on Friday, November 18, 2022, at her home in Fruitland, Maryland. “Sandy” as she was affectionately known, was born on Sweethearts Day, February 14, 1947, to the late Elmer Matthew “Buddy” Dashiell and Agnes Mae Donohue Dashiell.
Education: Sandy received her early education in the public schools of Wicomico County, Maryland, graduating from the former Salisbury High School in l965. Sandy was both an intellectual and involved student - Yearbook Editor and Chief, Senior Class Secretary, Seniors Prepare for the Future, Advisor; noted as “Best Musician”, “Neatest”, and for Speech and Drama. Sandy’s yearbook quotes her departing words, “advice is something that the wise don’t need and the fools won’t take.” A talented typist and transcriptionist, (converting shorthand to typed documents), Sandy enrolled at Strayer Business College in Washington, D. C.
Employment: After graduating from Strayer Business College, Sandy’s professional secretarial and business career began at AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. Later, returning to the Eastern Shore, Sandy accepted employment as a secretary for the Wicomico County Board of Education, and was assigned to Wicomico Senior High School, where she also mentored young students. With interests to attain higher levels of development, Sandy was hired as an administrative assistant to the late Dr. William P. Hytche, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland. After years of service, she was later employed as an administrative assistant at Dresser Wayne, Salisbury, Maryland, and Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Maryland. In finalizing her work career, Sandy joined her parents, sister “Pat” and brother “Matt” in the family business, Dashiell Well Drilling. Complementing her professional career, Sandy was an Income Tax Preparer for H&R Block, Salisbury, Maryland.
Marriage and Family: On April 22, 1967, Sandy entered holy matrimony with James Walter Harris, Jr., affectionately known as “Walt”, and from that union their beautiful daughter Michelle Nicole was born. Michelle not only grew as her mother’s daughter, but as her close friend, confidant, and ultimately caregiver. They shared a great loyalty that was demonstrated through family events, personal decisions, cruises, other travels together, and of course, the birthday celebrations. James Walter Harris, Jr. passed away on January 30, 1994.
Later in life and after a lengthy courtship, Sandy married James Lee Downing. They enjoyed a wonderful life together until Sandy experienced health challenges. At that point, James and Michelle immediately set a plan into action with loving, supportive caregiver roles, one complementing the other, to manage whatever Sandy needed.
While facing challenges, Sandy was determined to maintain an active life that involved family and friends. The Church: Sandy’s early Christian education began at Mt. Olive AME Church, on Sunnyside in Fruitland, Maryland. She later joined Trinity Faith Christian Center of Fruitland, Maryland and Lewes, Delaware, founded by Bishop A.D. Jones. Rev. Violet Jones, Pastor of the Fruitland congregation appointed Sandy as Church Secretary; a position she held until her health failed. Sandy was also an original member of the Church Choir. She remained a member of the Church, together with her husband James, until her passing.
Our Sandy: Though Sandy had many wonderful friendships, her dearest friends were always her parents, siblings, and other family members. Sandy was a social butterfly who always planned a party at someone else’s house. Born on sweetheart’s day, she continued to be a sweetheart to everyone who knew her. Sandy could never tell a good joke, or recall a good story, but her infectious laugh at the attempt was worth it! An avid, and oftentimes unbeatable pinochle player, Sandy loved playing cards with family and friends. Her special partner was James. Sandy will be missed by so many who loved how she brightened a room, brightened a day, and brightened all our lives.
Loving memories of Sandy will forever remain with her devoted husband, James Lee Downing; one daughter, Michelle Nicole Harris; two grandsons, Sharif Omar Harrell-el and Issac Harris; one great-grandson, Greyson Harris; James’ children, Michelle McDaniel and Kenzel Downing, and their children; two sisters, Brenda (Bender) Hardy and Patricia (Clifton) Wright; one brother, Matthew (Launia) Dashiell; one sister-in-law, Alice Thomas; one brother-in-law, Patrick Hearne; three nieces, Stephanie Dashiell (Anthony Cockrell), Katina Dashiell, and Dawn Dashiell; one nephew, Matthew “MJ” Dashiell, Jr. Sandy also leaves a host of loving great nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. Special memories also remain with her friend Rebecca “Becky” Palmer and the Trinity Faith Christian Center church family.
Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer “Buddy” Dashiell, and Agnes Mae Donohue Dashiell, James Walter Harris, Jr., sister, Carga Denise “Binky” Dashiell, nephews Junnon Hardy and Durrell Dashiell, and a host of other relatives.
Lovingly Submitted, the Family
Note: Howell & Jolley Memorial Chapel, P.A. will comply with the COVID-19 rules regarding masks. Therefore, anyone attending the viewing and/or funeral services must wear a mask.
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