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Sandra Hlavacek '77 June 10, 2021 1:14 PM updated: June 10, 2021 1:28 PM

Sandra Lee (Williams) Hlavacek
June 29th, 1955 - September 17, 2020

Sandra Lee (Williams) Hlavacek was born in Houston, TX on June 29th, 1955, the first of four children to Eugene Walter Williams and Lottie Jean (Tusler) Williams. She was quite the character, with a whimsical and sassy sense of humor. Standing at six feet tall with long, wavy red hair, she made an impression wherever she went. She attended J. Frank Dobie High School (Class of 1973) and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture at Texas A&M in 1977. While she was in college, she met her future husband, William "Bill" Hlavacek. They hosted a memorable wedding reception at the Civil Engineering Barn at the University of Houston campus in 1978.

Bill and Sandra raised three sons of whom they are both extremely proud: Ian, Niles, and Holland. After their youngest was in elementary school, Sandra went back to college, earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston in 1993 and her Master of Occupational Therapy from the Texas Woman's University in 1996.

With her new degree, she launched into a brand new career with the Harris County Department of Education as an occupational therapist, specializing in assistive technology. She loved working with her kids and helping them to interact with their peers and better express themselves through technology. She retired in 2015.
Always inseparable, Sandra and Bill grew even closer during retirement. Their favorite shared passion was their beach house in Bolivar, and they spent as much time there as possible. From their back patio, Sandra enjoyed watching the frigate birds in the sky and the martins in her martin houses. She and Bill enjoyed many long, romantic walks along the gulf shoreline, and they closed each day watching the sun set over the back bay.

To adequately describe Sandra and her passions and interests would take volumes. Sandra was forever the life of the party. She loved being around friends and family and was always overjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed traveling the world with friends and family, especially her two sisters, visiting a wide range of fantastic destinations, from Mexico to the Carribean; China to France; Scotland and England.

Sandra had quite the green thumb and loved growing diverse plants to appeal to local wildlife. She had a profound appreciation for historic and antique architecture and furnishings, which was evident in the loving attention she gave to her antique Craftsman bungalow. Having grown up in her parents' typesetting shop, she loved regaling people with stories of operating their linotype machines, sometimes pointing with pride to scars she got from the occasional mishap with hot lead used to make printing plates.

Long a talented visual artist, Sandra took up oil painting in recent years and became quite the proficient painter, with a specialty in animal portraits. She made the best Thanksgiving turkey you can imagine, loved Bill's famous margaritas, and was always up for a party with friends.

Sandra passed away in the early hours of September 17th, 2020. In her final months, she was cared for diligently by her close friend Debbie Evans and her sister Virginia. Their presence was a great comfort, both to Sandra as well as to Bill and the rest of the family.

Sandra is survived by Bill, her husband of 42 years; her three sons and daughters-in-law, Ian (Sarah Hirsch, spouse), Niles (Rita, spouse), and Holland (Lisa, spouse); her three grandchildren, Felix, Cora, and Wendy; her siblings Linda Knowles (David, spouse), Daniel Williams (Stephanie, spouse), and Virginia Williams (Hugh Beadles, spouse); her nieces and nephews Tyler Williams, Sally Beadles, Jade Beadles, and Demetrius Knowles, and many, many dear friends and extended family all over the country.

There is no way to adequately express our sorrow at losing Sandra, but more than that, we are all amazingly honored by the time that we were able to enjoy with her.
In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing her efforts to beautify the planet by planting something nice in your yard! You may also make a donation in her honor to the charity of your choice.

Published in Houston Chronicle from Sep. 26 to Sep. 27, 2020.
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