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​​​​​​​​​​​Russell High School

Sandra Lee Brown Christhilf


November 3, 1939 - March 28, 2019

Sandra Brown Christhilf, most recently of Madison, Georgia, passed away Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the Pruitt Heritage Nursing Facility in Athens, Georgia, after an 8-month battle with cancer. She was 79.

Sandra was raised primarily in East Point, Georgia, where she attended Russell High School. She went on to earn both her Bachelors and Masters of Business Administration from Georgia State University, where she attended school while working full time and raising two daughters. Sandra retired after 25 years of service from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where she had a remarkable career, working on projects such as the 1970’s expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the 1980’s development and implementation of advanced air traffic control systems. She worked in FAA offices in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Seattle, WA, and traveled with her job throughout the United States, including inside the Arctic Circle to Kotzebue, Alaska. She retired in 1995.

In 1984 Sandra married Frank Christhilf, whom she met while participating in the Mid-Career Federal Executives Program, through which they both attended graduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Sandra and Frank lived in Annapolis, MD, Seattle, WA, and Cannon Beach, OR, and travelled extensively in the U.S. Some of their favorites were Kauai, Hawaii, Santa Barbara, California, many of the US National Parks, and Sanibel Island, Florida. Frank passed away in 2001.

Sandra was a talented singer, participating in numerous church choirs as well as the Cannon Beach Chorus, where she played Carnegie Hall. She was a prolific reader and writer, authoring essays, poetry and fiction, and was an active member of several readers’ and writers’ clubs. She also loved cooking, gardening, and entertaining her various groups of friends and families.

Sandra is survived by her loving daughters, Cindy Allen and her spouse, Jennifer Stewart, of Athens, and Jenny Allen Keehan and her husband, Patrick, of Silver Spring, MD; siblings, Jeanene Adams of Cleveland, GA; Gail Ellis and her husband, Bob, of New Port Richie, FL and Wayne Brown of Fayetteville, GA; step-children, Linda MacDonald, Janet O’Flynn, David Christhilf; grandchildren, McKenzie Keehan, Georgia Keehan, Luke Keehan and Cassidy Keehan.

A celebration of Sandra’s life will be held on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM in the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, Administration Building, 2450 S. Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30605, immediately followed by a light lunch reception until 2:00 PM.

In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions may be directed to: Northeast Georgia Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 49309, Athens, Georgia 30604; Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36104; or Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, P.O. Box 882, Napa, California 94581.

Bernstein Funeral Home, www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com, is in charge of funeral arrangements.