The only child of Robert and Joyce Pelletier, Sandra Nelsen Pelletier ’67 was born on March 7, 1945, in Bakersfield, California. Following her birth, Sandy’s mother, Joyce, required immediate heart surgery. The first few months of her life were spent in Ontonagon, Michigan, with her grandparents, May and Edwin (Nanny and Bampy) Nelsen. Sandy attended Garces High School in Bakersfield and was an accomplished swimmer and diver. In her teens she evolved to become a competitive Western and English equestrian rider, winning in excess of 40 blue ribbons and three championships at major shows like the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Her room was filled with ribbons, trophies, photos, and memories of those days. In 1963 Sandy entered SCU, graduating with degrees in history and art. She Peter H. Ventura of Saint Helena, California, on Aug. 17, 1968 after meeting him in 1963 at SCU while playing bridge. Sandy and Peter moved to Manhattan Beach, California, for a short while. When Sandy’s mother passed away on Feb. 29, 1972, she and Peter moved back to Bakersfield to live with Sandy’s father, Robert. In November 1972 they welcomed their first child, Matthew Robert Ventura, and in November 1973 they welcomed their second child, Brian Henry Ventura. Sandy and Peter separated in 1980. Sandy was an avid bridge player and quickly became a Life Master in demand as a partner. She played with the likes of Omar Sharif and Warren Buffett. It was through her bridge that she met Maynard Denison and the two eloped in Las Vegas on July 21, 2000. Sandy was a warm, beautiful blue-eyed blonde and was often referred to as the Grace Kelly of Bakersfield. She was a quiet, shy person who felt a responsibility to give back to Bakersfield and support the community that helped build her. There are many causes that Sandy and her family donated their time and money toward. College scholarships were important as well as the arts and hospitals. She had a love of travel and good food. Everyone was welcome at her house and she unofficially adopted kids and animals along the way. She cared and loved without judgment and gave the benefit of the doubt. She will always be alive in our memories and in our hearts. Sandy passed away on May 3, 2019, and is survived by her sons, Brian (Stacy) and Matthew Ventura (Rose); granddaughter Sophia; husband Maynard Denison and his daughters, Kristin (Cory) and Jennifer (Bob) and their children Isabella, Gabriella and Emma; and also cousins Kurt (Terri) Schmidt and Heidi (Orin) Maniaci; and her ex-husband Peter Ventura.

21 Aug 2019