Sandy Schocket went to her high school prom with a future world-famous children's book author, chaperoned an eventual U.S. President for a hamburger lunch, wrote and sang parodies of Broadway musicals, danced with a prince in Vienna, was among the first residents of a renowned housing complex, authored three books, rebounded from devastating loss, dined with diplomats, won club tennis tournaments, put on puppet shows with her granddaughters, charmed her way around the globe, enjoyed a wide vocabulary but didn't understand the concept of "no', and never let an opportunity to tell an anecdote to go to waste.
Sandra Irene (Klamkin) Schocket was born in 1936 in Amityville, NY to Ruth and Harry Klamkin, and grew up with them and her younger brother Alan in the mill town of Meriden, CT. She learned piano, and in an early taste of feminism, thrilled to the story of the first woman in her Jewish congregation who dared to sit and pray with the men. Sandy was the life of the party at Camp Reena, where she met dear friends with whom she would reconnect decades later, reminiscing over the musicals they had performed and their adventures with boys. She was no less popular as a cheerleader and salutatorian at Meriden High.
Sandy thrived in the stimulating atmosphere of higher education. She cherished the years she spent as an undrergrad at Mount Holyoke College. There, too, she collected lifelong friends. In 2008, the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association awarded her its Medal of Honor to recognize her service as alumna class president and decades of fundraising and organizing events, including many she hosted in her own home, eventually establishing a scholarship. After graduation, Sandy ventured for a semester to the University of Vienna, yet again making a lifelong friend. She also earned an M.A. in counseling from Rutgers University.
Sandy loved cities, restaurants, reading, theater and ballet. She was living in Manhattan and working in a corporate personnel department - the beginning of her vocation as acareer counselor - when she agreed to a blind date with a handsome Columbia law student. She and Jay Schocket would be married for 34 years. They lived first in Newark, New Jersey, then moved to West Orange, NJ, with their sons Barry (born in 1964) and Andy (in 1968).
For Sandy, mountains and skiing were nice, but, a lifelong swimmer, she always wanted a views of the water. She found a small house on Lake Mohawk, NJ where the family spent 1970s summers. They eventually settled in her dream home and community in Mountain Lakes, NJ, where she lived for thirty-five years.
Sandy insisted on a career, navigating between job advancement and positions that allowed her to attend after-school basketball games and track meets. She worked for decades as a career counselor at colleges and universities in New Jersey and, for one year, in Boston. She served as President of the Eastern College Personnel Organization, taught courses on career goals at a local community college, and composed free-lance articles in the New York Times and other newspapers. In 1985, Peterson's Guides published her Sumnmer Jobs: Finding Them, Enjoying Them, which sold thousands of copies.
Sandy's lifelong cultivation of independence served her well after the sudden deaths of Jay and Barry in 1994. She wrote a memoir about that experience, My Life Closed Twice, which included advice for others on how to cope with the emotional devastation and practical challenges of surviving multiple losses. Many people would tell her how much the book helped them.
One of Sandy's favorite anecdotes was how, as a 66 year old widow uprooting from a lifetime in the New York area, she was told by a friend, in half serious horror, "No one our age moves to Toledo!" With her first grandchild on the way, to daughter-in-law Deborah and son Andy, professors at Bowling Green State University, Sandy bravely left all she knew to move to Ohio. She became a proud Toledo Museum of Art docent - ever the collector of stories, she wrote a history of the docent program - and a member of Temple Shomer Emunim, delighting in singing in it's choir, Kol Zimrah. She entertained her granddaughters Sophie and Phoebe weekly with rhymes and stories, and took them to Lakeside, Ohio for a few days each summer.
Sandy continued to charm even as she suffered from increasing dementia. In assisted living and then memory care at Ohio Living Swan Creek, she attracted a gentlemen caller and became a staff favorite. Following a catastrophic fall in early February, she entered hospice care. She died peacefully, to songs she had sung in summer camp, with family at her side.
Sandy is survived by her brother Alan in Ashkelon, Israel, and son Andy and daughter-in-law Deborah and granddaughters Sophie and Phoebe, in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Donations may be given in her name to "The Sandra Klamkin Schocket, Class of 1958, Scholarship Fund (EP6281) at Mount Holyoke College (https://www.mtholyoke.edu/go/webgiving), or to the Lena Kaplin Music Fund at Temple Shomer Emunim (https://www.templese.com).
A Celebration of Life will be held on Zoom on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 10:00 a.m..For a link, please contact Andy Schocket at firstname.lastname@example.org or Temple Shomer Emunim at email@example.com or 419-885-3341.
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