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Sarah Ella Van Wagenen


1973 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Sarah Ella Van Wagenen Obituary
Aug. 17, 1973 ~ March 1, 2014
Sarah Ella Van Wagenen passed away at her home in Claremont, California, from causes incident to cancer. She was in the company of her son, Auden, daughter Zoe, and her parents. She received tender and loving care in her last months from her family, friends, Seasons Hospice, the staff of UCLA Medical Center, and members of her Mormon congregation.
Sarah was born on August 17th, 1973 in Provo, Utah, the first child of Sterling and Marilee Van Wagenen, and named after her maternal great-grandmother. She was a beautiful and precocious child, starting to talk when she was only eight months old. She attended Robert Frost Elementary School in West Valley City, Utah and skipped the second grade. She graduated from Cottonwood High School where she was a cheerleader, played the violin, and was a summer exchange student in the Ivory Coast. At age seventeen she moved to New York City and worked in the film and television industry. She married Kevin Foxe in 1993 and had three beautiful children, Wyatt, Auden and Zoe. These were the most important people in her life. She was sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple in 2004. Sarah and Kevin were divorced in 2006. The pain of her cancer was excruciating, but she held on to life because she did not want to leave her children. She attended Brigham Young University, Hunter College in New York, and the University of Utah before graduating from UCLA with her bachelors (summa cum laude) and masters degrees in linguistics. She was working to complete her PhD in computational linguistics when she died. She loved UCLA and the wonderful faculty and colleagues she worked with there. She also spent three years in Haifa, Israel as a cognitive researcher at the Techion (Israel Institute of Technology). Sarah was adventurous and generous to a fault. She bonded with other people quickly and was intensely interested in their feelings, hopes and dreams. She loved her sister, Kristina, and her brothers Arthur, William, Hugh and Andrew, their spouses, and her 14 nieces and nephews, and grandmother Helen Jeppson. She went to great lengths to attend family gatherings, although they all lived in Utah and she in California.
Sarah played Ultimate Frisbee for the LA based competitive mixed club teams Metro and 7 Figures, both of whom went to the USA National Club Championships. She was named the Best Female Player in Los Angeles in 2008. Most recently, she played for the United States Mixed Masters National Team at the World Championship of Beach Ultimate in Italy, winning a silver medal. A fiercely competitive athlete, she was also wholly committed to Ultimate's 'Spirit of the Game' and was thrilled to bring her love of the game to the youth of Israel and Palestine through Ultimate Peace in the Middle East. Sarah was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). While in Israel, she was a member of the tiny Galilee branch of the LDS church that met in Tiberias, where her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was strengthened. She spent her last years in Claremont CA., and became deeply involved with the members of Claremont 2nd Ward and the single adults in her LDS stake. She made a profound impact on many people's lives. She loved people and they loved her. She will be deeply missed.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 10 am at the Heughs Canyon Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6301 South 2300 East, Holladay, Utah, 84121. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the educational fund for Sarah's children, Wyatt, Audie, and Zoe. Go to PayPal and contribute to ZandaEducation@gmail.com. (Please mark "I am sending money to family and friends"), OR make check payable to "CollegeAmerica" and send to Sarah's accountant: Troy K. Smith, 324 North San Dimas Ave. San Dimas, Ca. 91773.
Published in Deseret News from Mar. 7 to Mar. 9, 2014
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