|In Memorium (From Sue Chenoweth's article in the 12/26 Mercury News): Sandra Cortright, teacher, bird-watcher and writer, passed away on December 13th, after a struggle with cancer.|
Sandra ``Sandy'' Cortright's fondness for bird-watching was so contagious that son Brad, to his chagrin, said: ``My wife and I ended up appreciating birds, too!''
His adventurous mother was an international traveler, published aviary author and accomplished wildlife hunter -- only with a camera, he said.
For a living, the single mom taught at-risk students at San Jose's Pioneer High School.
``There are very few places my mother hasn't traveled,'' Brad Cortright said. She observed penguins in Antarctica, helped identify killer whales in the San Juan Islands and surveyed coral reefs in Costa Rica.
Mrs. Cortright raced sail boats in the early '70s. Four years ago, the breast cancer survivor talked her son into teaching her scuba diving.
Then the cancer returned in 2004. On Dec. 13, ``the woman with a will you would not believe,'' her son said, died at home in Sunnyvale. She was 67.
Mrs. Cortright was born Jan. 14, 1939, in Lubbock, Texas. But she grew up in grizzly country in northern Idaho -- where people had to fend for themselves and plan ahead, her son said.
Mrs. Cortright was known for her women-only tea parties and annual Thanksgiving dinners at Sea Cliff State Beach, Gordon said. That meant the two of them had to arrive before dawn to save enough tables. ``So Sandy brought along coffee and we'd watch the sun rise.''
Though she won numerous awards for her paintings and photography, Mrs. Cortright also pursued pottery, bronze casting and, in later years, origami. She formerly served on the board of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and was a docent at the San Francisco Zoo.
``Sandy loved her back yard,'' Gordon said. ``She could sit for hours looking out on her beautifully landscaped bird sanctuary.''
So when Mrs. Cortright was asked what she wanted for Christmas, a couple more big rocks for her yard, she said, suited her fine.
Born: Jan. 14, 1939, in Lubbock, Texas.
Died: Dec. 13, 2006, in Sunnyvale.
Survived by: Her sons, John Bradley Cortright of San Jose and Thomas Jason Cortright of Mountain View; a brother, Daniel Howell of Los Angeles; and grandson, Joshua.
Service: To be held in January.
Memorial: San Francisco Zoological Society, 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, Calif., 94132.
Thank you, Sandra Cortright, for dedicating
your time and skills to the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society!