Sondra Rae Swindel Galperin
Sondra, adoring wife of Arnold for 46 years (widowed 2009), mother of Noelle (Ernesto) and Gregory (Polina), flight attendant, dedicated volunteer and community leader, passed away peacefully on Dec 19th from lung cancer, having been diagnosed a month prior.
Sondra lived a life of adventure and service, flying with Pan Am in her first job out of college, teaching thousands of children to swim at Venetian Pool, dedicating time to numerous volunteer and charitable organizations, and traveling to far-flung corners of the world with family and dear friends. She studied in Spain, traveled Southeast Asia and the grand cities of Europe, explored the Galápagos via Zodiac, visited the glaciers of Alaska, swam with whale sharks in the Yucatán, walked on The Great Wall of China, cruised around the southern tip of South America, transited the Panama Canal, and ran as a torchbearer in the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, just to name a few of her adventures.
Born Dec 4, 1939 in Poynor, Missouri to educators and cattle farmers Mabel Alice Cox Swindel and Ray Eslie Swindel, Sondra grew up in nearby Doniphan. She excelled in academics, and was named co-Valedictorian of her middle school and Head Majorette in high school. Sondra majored in Spanish at Lindenwood College, earning multiple scholarships. After graduation, she joined Pan American World Airways in its glory days, serving as a stewardess on Caribbean and South American routes. She later worked with Pan Am management on transoceanic flights and in training new generations of flight attendants at their Miami base.
In 1963, she married the man she fell in love with at sixteen, Air Force/Air National Guard Major Arnold Benjamin Galperin. Together they had two children in Puerto Rico, and then moved the family to Miami in 1970 where Sondra became active in many local organizations, often holding offices and board positions, including the Pinecrest Elementary PTA, Cub Scouts, the Venetian Aquatic Club, World Wings Miami Chapter, Friends of Fairchild Tropical Gardens, the Embroiderers' Guild of America, the South Florida Calligraphy Guild, the South Dade Parliamentary Law Unit, the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, and Funding Arts Network.
Predeceased by her parents and husband, Sondra is survived by her children, grandchildren Nava and Zack Galperin, her sister Judy (John) Miller, nieces Shelley (Richard Kraut) Grant and Cindy (Steve) Mixdorf, nephews Michael (Linda) Gorosh and Johnny (Astrid) Miller, and 6 great-nephews and -nieces.
To celebrate Sondra's extraordinary life, please join her family on Friday, Dec 27th at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545 S Dixie Hwy, Miami FL 33156 for a visitation at 11am and service at 12:30pm. Burial to follow at Mount Nebo Cemetery, 5505 NW 3rd St. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to HavaneseRescue.com in Sondra’s honor.