Cover photo for Sandra Nelson's Obituary
Sandra Nelson Profile Photo
1939 Sandra 2021

Sandra Nelson

July 8, 1939 — December 22, 2021

Exeter Township, PA

Sandra Lee (Dissinger) Nelson, 82, passed away Wednesday, December 22, 2021 in Reading Hospital.

She was born July 8th, 1939, in Hershey, Pa to the late Marlin W. and Dorothy M. (Spangler) Dissinger.  She was predeceased by her loving husband, James C. Nelson in 1995.

Sandy, or Nannie/Ninnie as she was known to her grandchildren, had an immense impact on the people who were lucky enough to have been a part of her family. Sandy’s sense of humor was incredible.  No matter the joke, the cherry on top was always the slight, goofy giggle and sideways glance she would shoot you which drove things home. But larger than her sense of humor, was her sense of compassion.  Sandy, and her husband Jim, would host Christmas Eve parties for local members of her community who faced struggles with alcohol abuse. Toward the very end of her working career, she opened her home to her 6 grandchildren, a shock to her routine about which she never complained. In retirement, she moved to Campbelltown, PA to care for her mother in her final years. In this, and everything else she had done in her life, she never sought gratitude or recognition from those that she helped. Her only goal was to help better the lives of the people that she could reach.

Sandy was a graduate of Hershey High School and received her Degree in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.  She spent most of her life in Erie, Pa where she raised her family and had a fulfilling career in the nursing field.  Her nursing career focused on the most vulnerable, including working with disabled children at the Erie Infants Home before moving into senior care.  She retired in 2010 as the Director of Nursing for Pleasant Ridge Manor where she worked for 22 years.  In addition to her nursing career, she was a proud medical representative for the Erie County Commission of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Sandy loved collecting antiques, going to household sales, garage sales and auctions. Most of all, she loved being a Nannie to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by her daughter Rebecca A. McDevitt, wife of Matthew B. McDevitt, her son Jonathan M. Howland, husband of Robin L. Howland and a daughter Michelle Bradley; 12 grandchildren Joshua (Megan), Hannah, Keegan and Callie McDevitt, Kaitlyn Howland and Kylie (Jonathan) Battles, Andrew, Lila, Jack, Mary Page, Lydia and Anne Bradley, her great grandchildren Raegan and Molly McDevitt, and a sister Vicki Zimmerman.  She is predeceased by an infant son Patrick Howland.

We will never forget the great things Nannie has done for each of us and what she brought to our lives. She was an amazing, beautiful, endlessly compassionate soul, whose impact is immeasurable. So please know that we thank you, we miss you and we love you, a bushel and a peck. We hope you are relaxing now with a tall glass of milk. On the rocks of course. Just how you like it.

Private memorial arrangements will be made at the determination of the family.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Friends of Pleasant Ridge Manor Alzheimer’s Unit, 8300 West Ridge Road, Girard, PA 16417 or at in memory of Mrs. Sandra L. Nelson.   Bean Funeral Home, 6 Fairlane Road, Exeter Township is handling arrangements and online condolences may be made at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sandra Nelson, please visit our flower store.


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