Sandra Esta "Sandy" Isbell entered Eternal Life on Monday, July 11, 2016, at 7:21am. After a four year battle with cancer, her will and spirit were far from broken, but her body was. Sandy, in the loving embrace of her mother and surrounded by her siblings, left this life to the embrace of her Savior and Lord.
Sandy was born on December 10, 1950, to Walter Andrew Isbell, Jr. and Sammie Sue (Farris) Isbell, and big sis, Karrie Sue Isbell. Shortly, she became big sis to Walter Andrew Isbell, III, Verne Ray Isbell, and Melissa Isbell Davis. The family, blessed by the Lord, grew and prospered in His love and provision.
Preceded in death by her father, W. A. Isbell, Jr. and her nephew Zeb Smith, Sandy leaves her mother, Sue Isbell and her siblings, her brother-in-law, Dr. Jerry Davis, her sister-in-law Ellen Yates Isbell, the nephews she fiercely loves, Zach Smith and Caleb, Josh, and Jacob Davis, and countless loved ones, friends, and former students.
Sandy graduated from Iola High School System in 1969. She entered Texas A&M University in the fall of 1969, the first year female students were allowed to enroll in unrestricted numbers.
Perhaps Sandy's most life changing experiences at A&M were forged at the Baptist Student Union. The BSU, under the direction of Bob Burch, was instrumental in her yielding her life to Jesus as Lord, and in initiating life-long friendships with like-minded students, coaches, and colleagues in sharing the Relationship with all.
Upon graduation from A&M, Sandy began a 23 year career in coaching and teaching, serving Floresville, Lockhart, Klein Oak, Houston Baptist Academy, Iola, Brownwood, and Keller school districts.
Bringing a fiercely competitive spirit to the task of encouraging and leading young people to excellence in athletics and academics, Sandy developed teams competitive at the state level in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. On several occasions, there were students desirous of competing in sports without available coaching or facilities. Sandy threw herself into making sure the students received them.
Within her vocation, Sandy was faithful and aggressive in fulfilling the calling of her Savior to reach others for Him. This led her into extensive involvement in The Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. Eventually Sandy began a time of full time ministry through the FCA, serving in the Houston office, the Dallas office, and then in the Bryan/College Station office.
Combining a tenacity of spirit inherited from her Mom, and the love of doing for and helping people, which she inherited from her Dad, Sandy threw herself into serving FCA leaders and huddles. Sandy was relentless in pursuit of sponsors and funding to enable the organization of new huddles and the solidification of existing huddles, both at the public school and the university level.
Unafraid to go big, Sandy followed the Lord's call to minister in His name around the world. She served on ministry teams at the Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta in 1996, and then in 2000 in Australia. In the late 1980s, Sandy spent a month in Australia serving her Lord.
Upon being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, Sandy continued to pursue her calling of bringing young people to the Lord through organizing area athletes and ministers. When an area school district requested her service in initiating and developing a volleyball program, she was "all in". When young adults interested in becoming educators and coaches sought her mentorship, it was her joy to do so…. all while enduring intensive cancer treatments. Her tireless efforts to reach out and serve others for the glory of God continued right up to the final weeks of her life.
To her last breath, Sandy followed the admonition of Exodus 14:13 "But Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever'. 14 'The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.' 15 Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.…' ".
To those who will receive it, may Sandy's life and testimony encourage you to "go forward" and trust in the Lord.
Friends and family will gather to honor Sandy’s life from 6 – 8 PM on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at Hillier Funeral Home of College Station. Sandy’s Celebration of Life and reception will begin at 10:30 AM on Friday, July 15, 2016 also at Hillier Funeral Home of College Station followed by a graveside service and reception at 2:30 PM at Concord Cemetery in Iola.
The family requests donations be made to ovarian cancer research or to local FCA huddles.
Please visit Sandy’s Tribute Page at www.hillierfuneralhome.com to share stories and memories.