Eulogy for Sandy Keller Napolitano

July 6, 1965 – April 19, 2016

by Cindy Buckley Koren

I can’t remember a time when Sandy Napolitano was not my BEST friend. It all started when she joined the Bluebird troop that met at my house. Yup, Bluebirds. Seems like just yesterday we were walking to and from Smith Road Elementary School or riding our three speed bikes to Hamilton Swim Club… I remember Sandy’s dad rigged her bike up with curlicue handlebars so it would look “cool” —like real ten-speed. So, I — of course, copied that right away—I copied a lot of things from Sandy.

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I remember how intimidated I was of how cool her older brother and sister were and how much fun we all had riding in the back of Mr. Keller’s pick up truck with the speakers blasting and us girls bouncing around in the back — singing away at the top of our lungs. Music always seemed an important part of our times together. And it was music that got me… I was in my car on Tuesday. I was thinking and praying about Sandy and…. BAM — This song came on…and it got me bawling… You know the one…. It’s from the Breakfast Club.   Don’t Don’t Don’t – Don’t You Forget About Me….

I had to pull over.
And it hit me… The song was a sign. I realized, I wasn’t meant to talk about what Sandy WAS… I need to talk about what she IS – and Sandy Napolitano IS unforgettable.

Sandy eyes and smileShe is unforgettable because of her beauty:
Those incredible eyes – That knock you out smile—with her blindingly white teeth.
How about that impeccable lipstick? – It still boggles my mind how it stayed perfect for hours.

She is unforgettable because of that hair:
And I challenge anyone to find someone who had bigger hair in the eighties. Her unforgettable beauty was more than superficial. It radiated from inside of her and touched everyone she encountered. Whether you knew Sandy for 30 years, or 2 years, or even 2 hours, she could bond in such a special way—it was as if you knew her forever. And time never damaged that bond—no matter how long you had been apart.

She is unforgettable because of her sense of humor and her infectious laugh.

She is unforgettable for her determination – just ask her sister Kris to tell you the story about the angora sweater!!

She is unforgettable, because she never forgot:
Birthdays, special events—every word to the Grease sound track. Even more impressive—how she could perform line for line of her favorite movie or episode of the Brady Bunch and Little Rascals. “I love you Miss Crabtree.”

Sandy RainbowSandy’s Spirit is unforgettable:
A true spiritual being stuck in a human body—and you all know how she “rocked it” while she was here. It seems so unfair that her body could not contain that shining spirit any longer. She believed in miracles — Heck she was a living miracle! We all have an unforgettable story about Sandy and we need to share those stories to let her know that we will not forget her.

Trust me, she is not going to forget us. Her strong determined spirit is going to keep sending us signs. —So look for those signs and Sandy will be there.

Me—I will be looking for the bluebird, but for you—it could be a butterfly, or a white rose, the color purple, or maybe …  just a song playing on the radio.

Now this is going to be the hardest part; because I know this is what Sandy would say to all of you:

Please don’t feel sad —it was just my time to go. I see you are still feeling bad—and the tears just seem to flow. My time here is over,— it may seem not enough years. I don’t want you to keep crying—you are shedding too many tears. I haven’t really left you, although it may seem so. I have just gone to my next home—and I’m closer than you know. Just believe that when you call my name—I’m standing next to you. I know you long to see me—but there is nothing I can do—but I will still send you messages and I hope you understand, that whenever you need me—I will be there to take your hand…..

To Follow Up on Signs from Sandy – She Got Soul.

This message came from Sandy’s husband Nick….on Mother’s day 2016.
Obviously,  today was a tough day. I took the kids to see Sandy. We went and planted flowers and told her we loved and missed her. Then we kinda stood there for a while and as I almost always do, I kinda look for signs that she was with us. I was thinking of Cindy’s eulogy and I looked around for a bluebird, hoping she would give us a sign. Unfortunately, I didn’t see one. We stayed a little while longer and then left. As we were pulling out of the cemetery, a song by Buffalo Springfield came on. It was called Bluebird. Well, I about lost it and told the kids this was mom’s way of letting us know she’s still here. So, if there’s any doubt she’s still with us, hopefully this will erase that doubt.

bluebird album areBluebird

by Buffalo Springfield

Listen to my bluebird laugh
She can’t tell you why
Deep within her heart, you see
She knows only crying
Just crying

There she sits, aloft at perch
Strangest color blue
Flying is forgotten now
Thinks only of you
Just you
Oh yeah
So, get all those blues
Must be a thousand hues
And be just differently used
You just know
You sit there mesmerized
By the depth of her eyes
That you can’t categorize
She got soul
She got soul
She got soul
She got soul
Do you think she loves you
Do you think at all
Soon she’s going to fly away
Sadness is her own.
Give herself a bath of tears
And go home, and go home

MarianneCopeSteamroll (18)

Cindy steamrolling artwork in honor of Sandy 2015.


How weird is it that the name of the band is Buffalo Springfield? – When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Sandy and I took a trip to the most spiritual place I know: A Franciscan Convent in Buffalo.  Considering how meaningful that song was and its most incredible timing on the radio, I looked up more about the band…. Okay – now maybe  I am over seeing the signs, but… it blew my mind when I learned the name of the band was taken from a STEAMROLLER!    – WOW.

Our Sandy is One Strong SOUL!!!!



  1. Thanks so much Cindy! What a fantastic tribute. Your friendship with Sandy and the rest of the Power Through It Ladies transcends all.


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