PERIOD OF MOURNING
Obituary of Sandra I Ostrelich
Sandra Ikler Ostrelich, age 81, passed away peacefully while surrounded by family at Saratoga Hospital on Saturday, September 14, 2019 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Born May 16, 1938 in Albany, New York, to Frieda and Harry Ikler, she attended a vocational high school but had to leave college early following the death of her father when she was just 18. Sandra used her secretarial skills, wit and grit to work for lawyers on the east and west coasts, most notably for Decca Records, for the Office of the Governor under Governor Rockefeller, and for Sargent Shriver fighting the war on poverty in Washington, D.C.
She met her life partner, Michael Joseph Ostrelich, serendipitously on the Third Avenue bus in New York City and her life forever changed course. They married, and Sandra never slowed her drive for achievement, especially in higher education. While raising their two daughters and working full time as a legal secretary and then paralegal, Sandra earned a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State and an MBA from Bridgeport University. She worked at the law firm of Pullman & Comley in Bridgeport, CT for many years where she especially cherished a group of women who became life-long friends. For over ten years, Sandra ran her own title-search business.
For most of her married life, Sandra lived in the small town of Easton, CT but visited her extended family in the Capital Region often. Sandra chose to retire to Saratoga Springs in 2004, following a successful impulse buy of their new home on Saratoga Lake.
Although Sandra loved her family dearly, her life-long passion was Bridge. Earning decimals of a point at a time, she was a Master and very proud to share her table with wonderful partners along the way. She was a member of Congregation Gates of Heaven.
Sandra will be remembered by many for her loud and boisterous laugh, and her ability to captivate a room by the sheer force of her abundant personality -- a consummate storyteller and entertainer. She will be especially missed by those with whom she had deep friendships, accumulated from many different times and places along her life’s journey, who earned her trust and were repaid with her adoration and generous amounts of her love, time and attention. Sandra will be remembered by her daughters as a woman who struggled against the expectations forced upon her by society and sought to free them from those expectations. She was a fierce feminist who taught her daughters never to depend on anyone else for wealth, health or happiness. Sandra was immensely proud of her girls’ accomplishments and also proud of her job as their mother. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease cruelly robbed Sandra of her ability to be independent. It was in her moments of clarity that her bravery showed, bearing the indignities of a failing body; she rarely complained and remained grateful to her devoted husband and to the three angels who cared for her.
Survivors include Sandra’s husband of 54 years, Michael; daughters and sons-in-law Helene & David Dahan of Pleasantville, NY and Michelle Ostrelich & Howard Schlossberg of Niskayuna, NY; her beloved grandchildren Fiona, Brandon, Avery and Rachel; sisters-in-law Thelma Ikler of Albany, NY, Lillian (Philip) Gargan of Greenfield, NJ and Johanna Ekstrom of Kitchell Lake, NJ and a beautiful, huge family of nieces, nephews and cousins. Sandra was preceded in death by her brother Saul Ikler , brother Hyman (Dorothy) Ikler and sisters Rose (Benjamin) Berman and Roberta (Barry) Rosenblatt.
Services will be held at Levine Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m. at 649 Washington Ave., Albany. Interment will be at Ohav Shalom cemetery on Church Road. Relatives and friends are welcome at the home of Michelle and Howard, 76 Pheasant Ridge in Niskayuna, NY from 4:30pm to 8pm on Tuesday and again on Wednesday from 6-8pm.
Sandra was especially concerned about the immense costs required for the care of her grandson who was born with Prader Willi Syndrome. Memorial contributions are most appreciated for the Brandon Dahan Supplemental Needs Trust, 51 Sky Top Drive, Pleasantville, NY 10570 or to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Abundant thanks to her angels, Julie, Tara and Debora for taking such wonderful care of Sandra, keeping her mind and soul full of life and her body healthy for as long as possible.