Sandra Alice Herath, 77, of Bemidji died Friday, August 16, 2013 at her home.
Memorial Services will be 10:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at the United Methodist Church in Bemidji, MN with Rev. Gay Albers officiating. Visitation will be an hour before the services. The Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji assisted the family.
Sandra was born September 11, 1935 in Norfolk, Virginia, the daughter of Oscar and Alice (Post) Gurley. She was raised and educated in Norfolk, graduating from Granby High School in 1954, where her musical ability with the french horn earned her a place in All State Band. She was also captain of the majorettes and involved in the high school House of Representatives. She was a dental assistant and then worked for the Texas Company in Norfolk from 1954-56. She married John H. Herath on March 3, 1956 in Norfolk, Virginia. They lived in Santa Fe, NM (1956-59), Shiprock, NM (1959-1962), Phoenix, AZ (1962-63), Minneapolis (1963-64), Lake Oswego, OR (1964-67), Oklahoma City, OK (1967-68), and moved to Bemidji in 1968. She was a devoted mother and Girl Scout leader. When her children grew up, she graduated from Bemidji State University with an AA degree in 1979 and then worked at the Bemidji Public Library until 1981. She was active with her church community wherever their family lived, receiving a United Methodist Women Special Mission Recognition award while at Lake Oswego and also in Bemidji. You would find her and John helping at the United Methodist Church in practically all aspects of church life. She helped with Sunday school, confirmation, and youth programs, church committee work and very active in United Methodist Women, serving in all aspects of leadership. She volunteered with Hospice and was on the Bemidji Symphony and the Bemidji Arts Council boards, and also was a member of P.E.O. chapter AT. Music has always been part of her life. She very much enjoyed her participation in Bemidji Community Band and she also sang in the United Methodist Church choir.
She still found time for reading and her book club, knitting, travel and even received a Presidential Sports Award for Fitness Walking in 1988.
Sandra will always be remembered for her Southern graciousness, and as a giving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She had a great appreciation of nature and Itasca State Park held a special place in her heart. Sandras calm presence will live on in all those that have known her.
She is survived by her husband John Herath of Bemidji, 3 daughters- Cynthia (Stephen) Grimm of Brainerd, Christina (Timothy) Funk of Colorado Springs, CO, Catherine (Jim) Ziegler-Thoreson of North Branch, MN, 2 sons- John F. (Sarah) Herath of LaCrosse, WI, David (Kerri) Herath of Brainerd, 9 granddaughters- Carly Grimm of Eureka, CA, Claire Grimm of Brainerd, Erin Funk of Colorado Springs, CO, Michelle (Michael) Wenger of Colorado Springs, CO, Gretchen Ziegler of Madison, WI, Emily Ziegler of LaCrosse, WI, Maggie Herath of LaCrosse, WI, Lydia Herath of Brainerd and Anna Herath of Brainerd. 4 grandsons- John (Cassie) Funk of Grand Prairie, TX, Daniel Funk of Colorado Springs, CO, John T. Herath of LaCrosse, WI, David Herath of Brainerd and a great grandson- Branch Funk of Grand Prairie, TX.
She was preceded in death by her parents, grandson Paul D. Herath, and a brother- Oscar Gurley, Jr.
Memorials are preferred to Bemidji United Methodist Church, Bemidji Community Band or Cancer Research. Honorary Pallbearers will be Sandras friends. Condolences may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.