SANDEE METZKER lived life with a quiet confidence that came from being a positive and good woman who chose to be fully engaged with whatever life dealt her. Her relationship with Rick, her husband of almost 47 years, was the center of her life. They worked side by side as they constructed two new homes together. Each pursued successful careers in Oregon before returning to retire in Idaho.
Born in Astoria Oregon on March 18, 1943. At the age of five, she became a ranching child when her father, Henry Nortune, assumed the management and subsequent ownership of the Halferty Hereford Ranch in Donnelly, Idaho. Her mother, Bette Halferty Nortune, had been born on the ranch in 1916, the same year her father and the Donnelly community raised the big red barn. As an only child, Sandee cherished relationships with several cousins. Dave Wallace and Bev Wallace Montgomery were her constant companions in childhood.
Sandee was an honor student in Donnelly and McCall Schools. Academics, marching band, National Honor Society, Girl’s State, and 4-H highlighted her youthful pursuits. She became a precision and artistic seamstress and won awards for sewing and modeling her creations. She graduated from college at Boise State University and completed an MBA at Portland State University after she and Rick had married and moved to Oregon.
She found her work challenging and satisfying, enjoying close friendships with her work associates over the years. Her first employment was as a legal secretary and then as a teacher at Middleton High School. After moving to Portland, Sandee worked for the Multnomah County Public Defender while attending night school. The final 22 years of her career, she was employed by the Judicial Department of the State of Oregon setting up computer systems for the county courts.
Before Sandee completed her career, Rick had retired and begun to refurbish the Donnelly Ranch to prepare for their return to Idaho. With extensive skills developed in large construction projects, he was prepared to do much of the needed fence, barn, irrigation, and building work. They planned and began construction of a new home, but Sandee’s health concerns interrupted this process. Multiple myeloma, her third cancer diagnosis in five years, led to her death after six months of treatment. Bravely and with hope for recovery, Sandee was blessed to have the competent and kind medical staff at St. Luke’s MSTI of Boise providing her care. The nurses during her final days were wonderful. Day and night, Rick was her devoted caregiver, with cousin Bev Montgomery frequently providing companionship. With the light of a full moon outside her hospital window, she quietly slipped away in the night.
Her extended family and friends will continue to enjoy their recollections of Sandra’s upbeat and tenacious spirit. In both work and play, she was a fine companion, whether snow skiing, water skiing, boating, zip-lining, gathering at Donnelly-McCall reunions, or traveling in Ireland, Hawaii and more. Sandee was a great lover of animals of all varieties, especially her dogs and barn cats. Throughout her illnesses, she spent down time enjoying wildlife and veterinary medicine documentaries. Her love and strong spirit will be dearly missed.