Born in Brooklyn, New York on November 3, 1955, Sandra was the second of five children of Clifton Acker Quarles, Sr., a former shop steward and foreman at Acme Steel, and Sarah Leona Jackson Quarles, who worked at Tempco Services, cleaning offices at Columbia Broadcast Studios (CBS).
Sandra attended Franklin D. Roosevelt High School after which she went on to a number of varied work experiences around New York City. Her years spent working with the New York Boat Show afforded her the opportunity to travel while representing the organization in multiple cities around the country. Her most recent administrative role was with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) where she worked as a Payroll Specialist until her passing. She spoke of her work at NYRA with the fondness one would expect after so many years of dedicated service.
As a youth, Sandra was raised worshipping in the family church (Siloam Presbyterian Church) where she, along with her older sister Pamela, were active members of Siloam’s Youth Chorale (Glee Club). She attended summer “sleep away” camp through a rare and coveted opportunity with the Fresh Air Fund. Sandra returned from camp more independent than ever, constantly singing a bevy of fireside songs around the house for many months afterward, so much so, that her surviving siblings could probably recount a melody or verse even today. But most impressive was that she emerged from that experience as an awesome, very graceful swimmer.
As a family, we always spent our summer vacations in South Carolina where Sandra didn’t hesitate to explore the orchards, corn fields and tobacco fields or wander the full range of our uncle's farm -- barnyard animals and all. Sandra always embraced a get-away or new experience. Sometimes the more rustic, the better. She had a natural curiosity and was unafraid.
Her position at NYRA awakened a love of horses. She would make the time to stop and watch for a while in the mornings before work as they ran practice laps around the track. A quieter source of fulfillment was achieved through the philosophy courses she began taking at The New School. She took these lessons to heart, finding ways to incorporate the teachings into her daily life, and often sharing her new insights.
Sandra was an avid reader, a fierce dancer, and was always socializing with family and friends; and she loved to shop. Dinners and weekend brunches were certain to be filled with great conversation and loads of laughter. When she laughed, you had no choice but to join in. Sandra was also quite the fashionista, and was our go-to person for an outfit check!
Sandra was a vibrant, joyful, funny, well-read, generous individual who was a friend to many and a constant in the lives of her grandniece, Yasmeen Hayes, and grandnephew, Lawrence Gordon, and completely doted on the children, young adults and pets in her life. If you needed help, you could count on Sandra to be there. Sandra is survived by four siblings: Pamela Meadows, Cathy Quarles, Clifton Quarles, Jr., and Delane Armstrong; her son Sherod Quarles; brother-in-law Damon Armstrong; sister-in-law Lisa Johnson Quarles; granddaughter Gabriela “Gigi” Quarles; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, co-workers and friends.
Sandra was deeply loved and will truly be missed by us all … forever!
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