Obituary: Sandra “Sandy” Arlene MacKinnon

Posted at 4:16 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 18:16:25-05

BOZEMAN — Sandy MacKinnon, 84, passed away peacefully on October 21, 2020. Sandy bravely fought an aggressive form of breast cancer for twenty years, including metastatic cancer for the past five, only to quietly and quickly succumb to COVID-19. She was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. May her positive spirit, love of life, strength, and determination live on in all who knew her.

Sandy was born in Syracuse, NY on July 10, 1936, to Harold and Eleanor Matteson. Her younger brother, Gary, was born a few years later. The Mattesons built a general store in Bouckville, NY and lived in an apartment above the store. Sandy and her brother enjoyed entertaining their friends in a large game room complete with a player piano and pool table. During WWII, Sandy remembered participating in air raid drills and blackouts, food rationing, and collecting tinfoil balls to help with the war effort. She credited her work ethic to her early experiences selling used clothing to the migrant farmworkers that visited the family’s store.

Sandy graduated from Hamilton High School, Hamilton, NY and attended Russell Sage College, Troy, NY where she earned a degree in Physical Therapy. She met Alan MacKinnon after college. They married in 1958 and eventually settled in Hamilton, NY to raise their family. Sandy and Alan had two children, Gregor and Marcia. A number of years later, foster son Jerry joined the family. Sandy and Alan later divorced and remained friends for many years.

Sandy practiced physical therapy for over forty years, during which time she worked as a traveling therapist, in a hospital setting, and in private practice. She built her first dream house on a hillside where she enjoyed years of beautiful sunsets. For many years, Sandy enjoyed dancing, traveling, camping, and canoeing. She loved the water and especially enjoyed lake trips. It was only fitting that her next dream house was a lake shore cottage, renovated by her son, Gregor. Sandy and Gregor collaborated on many renovations, the last one, a conversion of an old mill into offices and Sandy’s own thrift shop.

Sandy’s greatest pleasures came from her relationships with people and her beloved dogs and cats. She had a remarkable gift of making friends wherever she went. She loved her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, always following their activities and adventures. She worried about others far more than herself and often reached out with a gift, meal, or phone call. She was in her glory hosting lunches and holiday dinners. Hamilton’s annual 4th of July reunions were a summer highlight where she stayed connected with many lifelong friends.

Sandy enjoyed traveling to Montana to see her daughter’s family and eventually decided to move there in 2015. She felt blessed to receive state of the art and loving care at Bozeman Health’s Cancer Center. Ever busy, Sandy continued with her love of decorating, cooking, gardening, wreath making, and flower arranging. She was especially fond of a group of friends she called “the girls”, with whom she regularly knitted, swam, and lunched.

Sandy is survived by her children; Gregor (Beth) MacKinnon of Hubbardsville, NY, Marcia (Dan) Kaveney of Bozeman, MT, foster son Jerry Sadler of Charlotte, NC, her brother Gary (Nori) Matteson, Sr. of Hamilton, New York, her granddaughters, Anna and Claire Kaveney, Alyssa MacKinnon, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the Bozeman Health Cancer Center and Bozeman Health for giving Sandy years of excellent health care. The family would also like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the brave and hardworking doctors and nurses on the Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital Medical Floor and Intensive Care Unit for their compassionate and attentive care in her final days. The family would also like to thank Dokken-Nelson Funeral Home in Bozeman and Paul Funeral Home in Madison, NY for helping Sandy get to her final resting place.

At Sandy’s request no services will be held. Cremation has taken place and she will be buried in Madison, NY with a private family gathering.

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