Virginia Sandera, 93, author, traveler, avid cyclist

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Virginia Sandera, 93, died on Jan. 17, 2012 at The Peaks in Flagstaff, Ariz. Born in Chicago on June 6, 1918 to Alfred and Florence Frey, she graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School and the Chicago Business College. As a Girl Scout counselor, she fell in love with California, moving to San Diego with her family, where she worked for and retired from the San Diego Unified School District. In retirement she continued to pursue her many interests: writing, reading, walking, baking bread, making cards, enjoying the beach, playing bridge, sewing, traveling, cross-country skiing, bicycling, listening to Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, and Patsy Cline, entertaining her grandchildren and friends, and enjoying a glass of white Zinfandel.

Her childrenís book, Pierre, the One-Footed Pelican, was based on her encounter with a one-footed pelican on Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. She loved to travel to upstate New York to visit her daughter and son-in-law and to such places as Hawaii, Vermont, Ireland, Canada, Costa Rica, and Spain with her husband and family. An accomplished seamstress, she created many ìFashions by Gini.î But her passion was bicycling along the seawall on the ocean and Mission Bay, where she was well known by all the local characters as she sped along greeting everyone she saw. She rode her trusty bike until she reached age 88, when, after moving to Carlsbad, Calif., to be near her son and his family, she had an unfortunate encounter with a truck and resorted to walking the neighborhood instead.

She moved to Flagstaff in 2010 to be with her daughter and son-in-law, where she became an avid bird and squirrel watcher, especially ravens, from her easy chair by the back window.

Gini Sandera is survived by her children, John (Linda) and Sue (Rich) Rummel; her grandchildren, Marin (Rigo), Kyle (Mary), Sean, and Ben Sandera; her great-grandchildren, Donovan, Seanna, Sydney, and Stella; her niece, Mary Higgins, two grandnieces and two great-grandnieces; and her many dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, John; her brothers, William and Robert Frey, and her parents. The family wishes to thank the staff of The Peaks and Hospice Compassus for their kindness and thoughtfulness. A private family memorial will be held on the beach. Donations may be made to any animal shelter.

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