Sandra Couvillon's chicken salad was absolutely amazing. It was SO good that, for a time in the early 1990s, people paid money to experience the pleasure of eating it. She took great pride in her work and made every batch with love. Like her chicken salad, Sandra was something special.
Sandra was born in 1941 in Amite County, Mississippi, the sixth of nine kids. After graduating high school a year early at age 17, she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she met her husband, best friend, and sparring partner for the next 62 years, Mike Couvillon. The couple married in 1961 and by the mid-1960s had grown their family to include three rowdy little boys - Tony, Al, and Marty. After Mike finished his pilot training and began his Air Force career, the young family moved to several different air bases in various states. With each move, Sandra eased the transition for her husband and kids by joining the local Officer's Wives Clubs, volunteering at each new school, and joining clubs and bowling leagues - all of which ensured the family had a supportive group of friends around them wherever they were - and no matter where they were, it was home as long as Sandra was there.
Her sharp wit, sassy sense of humor, penchant for storytelling, and ability to easily make people laugh kept her welcome at parties. She and Mike greatly enjoyed going to social functions ... and if the collection of fancy gowns in her closet was any indication, they went to a lot!
The family moved to Japan in 1975, and to everyone’s delight, the family grew by one more - their daughter, Eve. After a few years, the Couvillons moved to their final home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Sandra worked as a bookkeeper for several years, and from 1990 to 1996 the family owned a small ice cream shop called Icehäus (selling the aforementioned fantastic chicken salad).
Due to the shop's location close to the local air base, many young airmen and women came in the store and found a kind friend in Sandra. Perhaps it was their first time away from home, or that they missed their own mothers, but Sandra was always happy to listen, provide support, comfort, and make them laugh whenever they needed it. Most called her "Mom" and she was always excited to see one of her "adopted kids". She made time to give them her full attention, no matter how much work in the shop still needed to be done.
Sandra retired in 1996. She preferred spending most of her time with her grandbabies and great-grandbabies. She enjoyed going to the beach, working in her garden, cooking for anyone and everyone, and Mom-ing all who needed it. She was a ferocious mama bear when she needed to be, and a loving listener always. She loved her kids (related and unrelated) unconditionally and with her whole heart. And without fail, she was ALWAYS happy to put plates of her spaghetti and meatballs in front of them, with an attentive "so tell me everything".
These last few years have been rough, following a lung cancer diagnosis in 2016. She and Mike spent more and more time in doctor's offices and at chemo and radiation treatments. Despite what she was going through, she still eagerly looked forward to visiting with her family, neighbors, bible study group, and friends, until she was no longer able to do so.
On her 82nd birthday, Sandra peacefully returned home to Heaven, no doubt to a rather large welcoming party of all her loved ones and friends who passed before her. We feel confident she's catching up with everyone over a pitcher of margaritas and nachos and laughing her loud, glorious laugh for all of Heaven to enjoy. We will miss her tremendously, but we know her love and support will be with us in everything we do. Please join us in celebrating Sandra's life Tuesday, March 23rd at 2 pm, at Emerald Coast Funeral Home in Fort Walton Beach. Brightly-colored, festive attire is encouraged (especially pink). The rosary will be said at 12:30 pm. Viewing from 1-2 pm. Interment will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery and refreshments at the Parish Life Center at St. Mary Church. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital would definitely get you a high-five from Mom.
Expressions of love and sympathy may be placed and viewed at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com