Roberta (SANDY) Symons-Keegan Sept. 17 1923 – Nov. 6, 2021
Roberta Olgah Symons/Keegan (aka) Sandy Keegan passed away peacefully in her sleep, Nov. 6, 2021 at the age of 98.
Sandy was born Sept. 17, 1923 in Anson Texas to Sinnett & Edna Sands. (thus the nickname Sandy) She had one sister & brother, Julia Scarborough, who passed at the age of 90 & Wayne Sands who is 94 & resides in San Clemente CA.
Sandy met Ashwood born, Frank Symons in Modesto California & by then her family owned a 24 stool all day/night restaurant. Some US Army Engineers were stationed there temporarily, to help with the tomato crop & Frank walked into their restaurant with his fatigues on, a perky cap and lots of black wavy hair, as she described it. It was love at first sight! They got serious fast, and 9 days later they were married. Sandys life, is an exciting story of a girl, caught up in the fervor of World War 11, when marriages were forged amid an uncertain future. Sandy was a city girl in Modesto, California, ( not a big city) but certainly bigger than Ashwood. When Frank shipped out a few days later to the China Burma War, she was Mrs. Frank Symons, a role she played through good times & bad until Frank died 44 years later.
Sandy carved out a niche amid the rocky juniper & sagebrush hills of Ashwood, as solid as if she’d been born there. She & Frank lived in the former Baptist Church Parsonage, that also housed the Post Office, that Frank built for her, after she applied and was appointed to Post Master in 1949. Being a newcomer to the community, Sandy was in awe. To be a Post Master was really special, it was a lot of responsibility, and by then she had 3 kids, Phil, Marty & Judy Symons. BUT she made it work, she never had a babysitter, she raised the kids with one hand and ran the post office with the other, through a swinging dutch door, so she could keep an eye on the kids while working. When she became Postmaster in Ashwood, she earned $32 every two weeks & stamps cost 3 cents. Somewhere in the midst of all this, 6 years later Frankie & Janna were born. Imagine.. 5 kids! Some of the ranchers in the area shipped rocks through the mail, boosting the postal sales, and at that time her salary was based on sales. Sandy became addicted to rock digging, and started “Sandy’s Rock Shop” along with the general store & gas pump. She advertised in Rock Hounding Magazines, and people came from all over to dig rock & meet her. She epitomized what a small town postmaster, rock shop, grocery store, gas pump owner is: She was the hub of Ashwood’s daily activities, acting as the towns welcome wagon, grapevine news reporter to the Madras Pioneer, message taker, information & direction center & always a friendly loved neighbor to everyone. Sandy was Postmaster for 40 years.
Sandy was the Ashwood Region Weather Observer for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. For 40 years she provided daily precipitation reports of the weather equipment mounted on a pole across the road from the post office. She was also a member of the Ashbutte Grange for over 70 years, spearheading many of the Ashwood Dances & events at the grange. She faithfully attended the Ashwood Community Church marching her kids across the dirt road every Sunday! She was baptized on a sunny day in Trout Creek, which runs through Ashwood. She loved watching Western Movies & old Musicals, singing & dancing every chance she got.
After Franks passing, she said if she ever remarried, she’d marry a man who liked to dance and could cook! Charles J Keegan, another Ashwood grown man, did both, and he loved Sandy like no other! Co-joined families ( 5 Symons kids & 4 Keegan kids, can be even more fun later in life and all the Symons &
Keegan kids had grown up together, so there were many-many good times. Sandy & Charles were married for 21 years, continuing to ranch in Ashwood as long as they could, before Charles’ passing.
Sandy is survived by her 5 children: Phil Symons (Sandy) Frankie Symons (Kim) Judy Finnell (Gordon) all of Ashwood, Marty Symons (Irma) of Madras, Janna Hoffmann (Rich) of Terrebonne. Step Children Carol Brock (Pat) of Arizona, Charles Keegan (Kelly) of Terrebonne, Jim Keegan (Kathy) of Bend & John Keegan (Lori) of Redmond. She’s also survived by 17 Grandchildren, more than 45 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces & nephews.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday Nov. 13 at 1 pm for family & friends, at the Maupin Cemetery in Ashwood. Next summer, a date will be announced and published for a Celebration of Life, honoring Sandy, at the Ashwood Grange Hall in Ashwood.
In lieu of flowers , donations can be made to the following
24301 NE Gosner Lane
Ashwood, OR 97711
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