“She was the best in all of us,” reads the plaque on the statue and memorial bench outside of Converse Hall.
The statue of a little girl reading and community bench memorialize the life of Sandra Steinke (1935-2017), a mother, wife, teacher and Westminster College graduate who had a passion for education and making others feel valued, according to her obituary.
“She was a person that everywhere she went she carried sunshine with her,” said Tom Steinke, former Westminster basketball coach and husband of Sandra Steinke. “She was a somebody who made everyone feel like a somebody.”
Sandra Steinke died on Oct. 24, 2017.
After graduating from Westminster with an undergraduate degree in education, Steinke went on to teach at East Midvale Elementary in the Jordan School District. Steinke was a second-grade teacher at the school for about 22-25 years, Tom Steinke said.
“The kids were in school and she decided she wanted to go back [to college],” Tom Steinke said. “She started originally at BYU, where we met. Then, decided to finish her undergrad and follow what she loved to do and became a teacher. She loved it. She absolutely loved it, and loved [working with] the kids.”
Tom Steinke work for various programs within the Westminster athletics for 34 years, from 1966 to 2000. After retirement, Steinke was the first person appointed to be on the committee for the Westminster College hall of fame. He kept in close contact with Former College President Steve Morgan and Managing Director of Plant Facilities Richard Brockmyer after retirement.
After Sandra’s death, Tom Steinke worked with Westminster to create a memorial to her.
A memorial fund was set up in Sandra’s name at the college, and the family donated additional funds for the statue and memorial bench outside of Converse Hall, said the Director of Gift Planning Kaye Stackpole.
The statue and memorial bench were installed in June 2018 said Richard Brockmyer, managing director of plant facilities.
“It depicts a little girl reading a book to her doll,” Tom Steinke said. “I like that. It symbolizes her and her commitment to the education field.”
Tom Steinke said he and his family are also creating a scholarship in Sandra Steinke’s name. The scholarship will provide tuition money for a student in need who is studying in the education department and shares Sandra’s passion for education.
“She was very committed to education and I thought that would be a good thing for a needy young man or woman going to the education field,” Tom Steinke said.