In Loving Memory of Herbert F. Sands
Herbert F. SandsScranton, PA March 5 ,1940 ~ March 31, 2016 Date of Service: April 4, 2016
The world lost a beautiful man and a kind soul with the passing of husband, father, teacher and leader, 1SG (Ret.) Herbert F. Sands on March 31, 2016.
Our hero grew up in Dunmore, born to the late Frederick and Mary (Evanski) Sands on March 5, 1940. His life both personally and professionally was one of deep faith, personal integrity, compassion and the desire to do the right thing. The impact he leaves on his family, students and thousands of troops over a career that spanned more than 40 years will not fade with his passing. Rather, those who were fortunate to spend time with Herb will pay forward his example and positively impact generations to come.
He was a graduate of Dunmore High School, Johnson School of Technology and attended Penn State University. Herb married his best friend and soul mate, Sylvia Woelkers, on November 24, 1966. On that very same day, he proudly became the father to four beautiful children. They added another daughter and son to complete their family. His pride, love and commitment to each child began as if he had witnessed their birth. Together, he and Sylvia enjoyed a life and love the depths of which can only be found in stories. Their love for each other found that perfect spot where it was evident to all without being over the top. The twinkle in Herb’s eye let you know that he was more in love with his bride each day than the day before.
He was proud to have served his country as a member of the United States Army beginning in 1959 in the 1/134th Field Artillery and concluding as First Sergeant of the Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. During his enlistment, 1SG Sands served overseas and was presented such distinguished honors as the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and PA State Service Ribbon just to name a few. He was affectionately and respectfully known as Top, a surname that he held very dear.
His career as a teacher began in 1970 when he became the chairman of the automotive department at Johnson School of Technology now known as Johnson College. In an era where education and respect were mutual, Mr. Sands taught his students how to be honorable. The family is grateful to all of his past students who have reached out and shared their gratitude. His students' journeys and successes were his passion.
Always an avid outdoorsman, Herb was a marksman and enjoyed his time hunting, fishing and farm life up the ranch with his sons and grandsons. He preached the value of lifetime learning to his family, particularly his granddaughters. He rescued a dog named Buster in 2010, who in turn became his constant companion throughout. He loved his summers at the lake and was well known for his storytelling. He had the memory of an elephant and was never at a loss for words of encouragement or a great story to make you laugh. He will always be remembered and fondly loved for his never ending but brilliantly appropriate sayings. It would be hard not to smile thinking of him.
Herb was continuously involved in many trade, community and professional organizations. He believed strongly in helping others. He was honored to have represented the ratepayers as a board member of the Scranton Sewer Authority. For many years, he was the President of the Pennsylvania National Guard Family Support Group, Volunteer of the Year for the American Red Cross Scranton Chapter and the South Side Bachelors Club. Herb gave of himself unselfishly never expecting anything in return. He held leadership positions within most anything he associated himself as he was just a natural. He dedicated himself as Adjutant of Victory Post #13 in Dunmore as well as the Freemasons Lodge #301. He provided a glowing example of how to live life through commitment to professional and personal excellence.
In addition to his wife, Herbert is survived by his children, Linda Layo and husband, Bill; Colleen McGuire, Robert Murray, Sharyn Hiergesell and husband, Ted; Mary Ellen Drost and husband, Mike; Herbert Sands Jr. and his “like a son,” David Warunek. He and Sylvia are the infinitely proud grandparents to six granddaughters and six grandsons and great-grandparents to nine precious children. He is also survived by his sisters, Mary Ellen Occhipinti and Judith Gay; many nieces and nephews and treasured friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Richard Sands.
Herb’s family would like to thank the caring staff of Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Martin Hyzinski and Dr. Joseph Leo as well as everyone who contributed prayers and positive energy throughout his journey.
His family welcomes all to attend a Mass in his honor to be held Monday at 10 a.m. in Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Taylor Avenue, Scranton. Cremation will follow the Mass.
Friends may call Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Carlucci-Golden-DeSantis Funeral Home Inc., 318 East Drinker Street, in Dunmore.
In lieu of flowers, it was Herb’s wish that memorial contributions be made to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart in Dunmore or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.