Nelsen Funeral Home & Crematory

4650 South Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA


Sandra Pettey Desper

August 21, 1940May 18, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that on May 18, 2020, Sandra “Sandy” Pettey Desper went to be with our Lord, after a courageous battle with chronic pneumonia that led to heart failure.

Sandy was born in Biddeford, Maine on August 21, 1940, but currently resided in Henrico, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Lucinda Pettey; and her husband of 34 years, Charles “Buddy” Desper. Sandy is survived by her devoted life partner of 8 years, Alan Thomas; her loving children, Warren T. Desper and his wife Cathy, Debbie L. New and her husband Randy, David A. Desper and his wife Georgia; her adorable pup, Fred; her brothers, Lawrence R. Pettey (Bonnie) and Norman “Butch” A. Pettey (Pearl); eight grandchildren, Donald (Kim), Sandy Rose, Michael (Missy), Jessica(P.J.), Charlie (Angela), Kelli, Nathan, and Donovan; six great grandchildren, Kora, Devon, Kenna, Remington, Indiana, and Addison; several nephews, nieces, and other relatives and friends in Maine, Virginia, Florida, and across the pond in England.

Sandy retired from Henrico County Public Works and was very dedicated to the Fraternal Order of Police Ladies Auxiliary. She held many offices over the years to include State President (5 years) and National President. She was a member of United Corinth Methodist Church. She was a very talented lady that made everyone smile with her handmade creations. She was a vibrant, caring, and loving sister, wife, mother, grandmother, life partner, and friend. You could always count on her for good advice and a positive outlook. Sandy enjoyed volunteering in church and local daycare activities, traveling, arts & crafts, reading, spending time with her children and grandchildren, and gathering with friends and family. Sandy will be missed tremendously and forever treasured in our hearts.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, there will be no public viewing or funeral services. A celebration of Sandy’s life will take place at a later date. There will be a private family graveside service at Washington Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory can be made to the Richmond SPCA. Condolences, virtual candle lighting, and cherished memories may be shared with Sandy’s family at www.nelsenfuneralhome.com/obituaries/.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Sandra Pettey Desper

have a memory or condolence to add?


May 27, 2020

Will miss you and know you will always have a special place in my heart ! I will never forget the years and things we have shared. They were special times for me and family means the most! Always remember how much I love you and Oh yeah, Thank you for having Debbie so I could have her in my life :).....do not know what I could have done without you both. God must have sent Allen to you and what a blessing he has been!! Until we meet again mama....with all my love..

Joanne Monday

May 24, 2020

David, Michael, Jessica and family,
So very sorry for your loss. Hope that the good memories you share carry you through this sad time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Joanne and Roby

Harold & Linda Cowell

May 24, 2020

Oh Alan, What a great caregiver you have been to Sandy. We watched as you went the extra mile caring for 'as we called her our Energizer Bunny'. She always rebounded, after serious health issues over the five years that we knew her. She was a wonderful sincere, caring person and will be greatly missed. Harold and Linda Colwell

Peewee Leffingwell

May 24, 2020

A good neighbor. Sorry for your loss Alan.


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