Sandra â€œSandyâ€ Merz Bott, 68, departed this life on September 15, 2022, at St. Lukeâ€™s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sandy faced serious health challenges throughout her adult life, mostly stemming from developing Type 1 Diabetes at age 22. She received a kidney transplant in Iowa in January 2015. She overcame her challenges with courage, optimism and her Christian faith, as well as the care and expertise of her husband, a nurse. Sandy was a long-time member of New Covenant Fellowship in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. She met the love of her life, Wilford Bott, when both were students at Lincoln Christian College (Lincoln, Illinois); they were married June 17, 1978, a marriage of 44 years of love and devotion. Sandy was born on January 9, 1954, in Springfield, Illinois, to Estella and William Merz. She was always an excellent student and intellectually curious. She earned a PhD in applied linguistics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as well as being a graduate teaching assistant. Her positive attitude, kindness, and empathy for others won her many friends in the university community and her neighbors in the places she lived including not only Champaign-Urbana and Springfield but also Carbondale, Illinois and Cedar Rapids. One of her favorite jobs was as a book editor at Human Kinetics, a publishing firm in Champaign, where she enjoyed editing technical, scientific, and medical text books, interacting often with her authors. Sandy was an avid and prolific reader herself and was particularly fond of â€œCozyâ€ and â€œThe Cat Whoâ€ mysteries. Her deep concern for injustice often led her to contact elected officials to express her concerns. She cherished her large extended family and friends and her beloved pets, most recently her cat, Yoko and previously her dog, Shirah and cat, Shadow. They meant more to her than material things, except perhaps new fabric and yarn which she could transform through her skills as a talented seamstress by sewing, quilting or crocheting, her most passionate hobbies. Besides her husband, Wilford and cat, Yoko, Sandy’s survivors include sisters, Nancy (Dennis) McMurray of Springfield, Illinois and Mary Ellen (Michael) Petrosky of Glenarm, Illinois; nephew, Stephen (Amber) Salefski of Chatham, Illinois; niece, Shelby Salefski (fiancé, Nate Doms) of Springfield, Illinois; great nephews, Landon, Eli and Ezra Salefski’ one aunt, Norma Hinkle; one uncle, Frank (Marilyn) Houston; and many cousins. A Celebration of Life will be held at Erin’s Pavilion in Southwind Park, 4965 South Second Street, Springfield, Illinois on Monday, October 24, 2022, at 6 pm Please share your support and memories with Sandy’s family on her Tribute Wall at www.stewartbaxter.com under Obituaries.
Published by The Gazette on Sep. 22, 2022.
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