Sandra Szelag

Sandra Ann Szelag

1941 - 2023

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Obituary of Sandra Ann Szelag

Sandra Szelag Obituary

Sandy Szelag of Tucson, Arizona died on January 11,2023

Born under the gritty skies of Chicago’s Southside steel mills, Sandra (Sandy) Szelag grew up as a Polish Catholic who asked too many questions.

Questions led her on a path to teaching literature, to living a life of social activism and to waitressing while living in an urban commune. She earned a doctorate at the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Meadville Lombard Theological School and ordination by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Chicago.

Questions eventually brought her to Tucson, where she fell in love with the desert, stayed to raise children, and worked as a Pastoral Counselor. She lived with her spouse for 45 years within earshot of coyote howls and javelinas crunching cactus. She spent hours hiking and taking in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. She returned to her lifelong love of words and poetry and served as a docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Her life could be measured by the many roles she played: teacher, activist, minister, pastoral counselor, poet, dog lover, spouse, mother and grandmother. In all of these callings and throughout her life, she met each individual on her path with gentle love and compassion. In turn, she was loved by so many.

She was preceded in death by her parents Barney and Lillian Szelag. She is survived by her spouse Carol Kells, four children, Kenny Kells (Angela); Joe Nelson (Jacqueline); Dawn Meshel (Roy); Reid Kells; and 11 grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers James Szelag (Nancy) and William Szelag (Mary).

The spirit of the poet is eternal. When a silent voice unexpectedly comes to your mind, listen to the verse. It may well be Sandy conveying the love and compassion you have been yearning.

A memorial service will be held on April 15,2023 at 3:30 p.m. at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Donations in Sandy’s honor should be made to the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

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Memorial Service

3:30 pm
Saturday, April 15, 2023
University of Arizona: Poetry Center
1508 E. Helen Street
Tucson, Arizona, United States