SEMTNER, WELFARE REFORMER, ARTIST, SOROPTIMIST, DIES AT 78
Sandra Lou Semtner, who led one of the largest reforms of welfare in the nation, died on April 20 after a short battle with cancer. She was 78.
“Sandy” to friends and family, retired to Mariposa 25 years ago after a 35-year career with the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services.
Sandy began her career as a field case worker after graduating with honors from Occidental College.
She became Special Projects Chief for Los Angeles County Social Services and in the 1990s supervised the launch of the GAIN (Greater Avenues of Independence) program which offered clients vocational training and education to move from welfare to the workforce.
Sandy would tell you her greatest achievement was the creation and nurturing of her family, raising her daughter, Nancy Semtner, and helping to raise her Goddaughter, Nancy Crist.
Sandy had strong opinions that she did not hesitate to share. In the last few months before her passing, she was deeply distressed by emerging threats to abortions rights, and attacks on LGBTQ communities.
In retirement, she was a volunteer with Mariposa Soroptimists and supported its work helping women achieve career goals. She also loved and supported the local arts community and participated in the Senior Arts Group and Yosemite Western Artists.
Sandy Is survived by her sister Barbara Lyden and brother John A. and Deanna Tavis, daughter Nancy Semtner, and grandchildren Frankie and Mariah Fernandes, God daughter Nancy and Robert Crist and daughter Maya, and many nieces, nephews, and close friends
Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Thelma and John R. Tavis, and sister Jo Baughman.
A celebration of life for friends and family is planned for May 7 at the River Rock Inn in Mariposa from 3 to 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donation to the Mariposa Soroptimists.
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