Olson, Amanda Sandra
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December 10, 1953 - February 25, 2013
Amanda Sandra Elizabeth Olson (Black) of Laguna Woods, known as Sandra to her family and friends, died of complications related to gastric cancer at Lake Forest Nursing Center in Lake Forest, California on Monday, February 25, 2013. She was 59 years old.
A funeral service was held on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at McCormick & Son Memorial Chapel in Laguna Hills, California, presided over by the Reverend Dr. Colston Charles III of Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
Sandra was born in Georgetown, Texas in the county of Travis on December 10, 1953 by her father, James Rueben Black and her mother, Iva Lee Black (Rose). Early in her childhood, Sandra moved to Southern California with her mother after the early death of her father. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1972 and received a degree in Communications from UCLA in 1976. In 1995, she earned a Masters of Communications degree from the University of Phoenix. After graduation from UCLA, Sandra went to work as an Employee Benefits Specialist at First Interstate Bank in downtown Los Angeles. From there, through hard work and dedication, Sandra accepted the position of Benefits Administrator at MetMor in Los Angeles. Sandra eventually went on to be the Benefits Manager at Occidental Petroleum Corporation in West Los Angeles. After Occidental Petroleum, in 1999 Sandra accepted the position of Benefits Director at Avery Dennison Corporation in Pasadena where she became the first African-American woman to hold the position of Vice President. After Avery Dennison, in 2011 Sandra moved her career to Westfield Corporation in West Los Angeles where she was hired as the Benefits Director. Due to the onset of gastric cancer, Sandra was forced leave Westfield in January 2013. Sandra was completely devoted to her family and friends, who are too numerous to mention. She loved to travel and her destinations included many points in Europe, Great Britain, Hong Kong, South Africa and South America. With her husband she journeyed to many places in their Recreation Vehicle and was an avid fisherwoman, loving to find secret spots in and around Bishop, California. Sandra is survived by her mother, Iva Lee Black of Rowland Heights, her husband, Gary Lale Olson, Jr. of Laguna Woods, her son Shannon Ferris Lee of Rowland Heights, her daughter and son-in-law Amanda Katherine Walker and Ryan Hickman of Laguna Hills along with her beloved granddaughter, Amanda Chanel Hickman.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 7, 2013