i first met sandy and rolly richert in 1986, at first baptist church in wheaton, illinois. jeannie and i started attending there and volunteering with the junior high ministry. rolly was the interim worship leader — i can still remember him leading a verse of a song, then pulling out a trumpet from behind the pulpit (very ‘magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat’) to play a little interlude! sandy was one of the key high school ministry volunteers, and their daughter lesa was one of our junior highers.
i ended up becoming the part-time junior high pastor at that church, and got to know rolly and sandy well — they were very important supporters for me. in the years since, rolly and sandy have played recurring key roles in my life: from being critical references in my next two hiring processes, to getting me involved in leadership for the new junior high track of dc/la in 1991 (and spending time with them at every dc/la event since then), to seeing rolly and sandy move to detroit and start attending my home church (and their children graduating from the same high school as me!), to bringing their daughter lesa out to pasadena as my summer intern. and in the last 7 years, since i’ve been at ys, i’ve been blessed by spending time with them multiple times every year, as rolly directs our mainstage for all of our conventions, and sandy handled artist management and green-room hosting.
every musician who has played at a ys convention in the past several years knows sandy. and like all of us at ys, they love her.
sandy fought a very fierce battle with cancer over these past two years, ending saturday evening. i can say this with 100% honesty: sandy richert was one of the best humans i have ever met in my life — fun, gentle, loving, passionate, interested and interesting, thoughtful, highly competent, dependable, humble. 6 of us from ys are flying to detroit on thursday for the memorial service, which happens to be at my home church.
we’ll miss you, sandy. the imminence of god was clear when you were with us.