Sarah Dudley Sasz, known to all as Sally, left this world on Monday, July 6th 2020. We will remember her by living as deeply as she aspired to every day she spent on this earth. Hiking, biking, painting, cooking -- whatever Sally was doing, she embarked with passion and zeal. Every day was a blank canvas that she sought to fill with adventures, people and memories that would help her connect to the world.
Born in Charlotte, NC on December 22, 1998, Sally Sasz began lighting this world from the day she entered. As a toddler, she would wake up each morning and call out "It's a pretty day!" until someone would hear her, scoop her from her bed, and start the morning.
From a young age, Sally loved to explore, play, and pretend. She was an initiator in her family, always wanting to entertain and engage her two younger sisters, Patsy and Lulu. Whenever Sally cleaned her room, she would hold a "Yard Sale," so that each sister could salvage any of Sally's belongings they wanted to keep. And one of Sally's favorite tricks -- using a magic word to hover a balloon in the living room -- kept Patsy and Lulu mystified for years. Neither noticed that Sally stood in the same place every time she performed the trick: right over an air vent.
Sally was shy in her early years at the Charlotte Country Day School, discovering a deep passion for learning as she grew. She loved the classroom and her teachers, and she was a deeply loyal and caring friend. Even though Sally never wanted to be the center of attention, people recognized her talent and drive from the beginning. Her second grade teacher Mrs. Preslar awarded her the "perseverance pencil" for trying the hardest in class, and Sally proudly displays the award in her room still.
Tennis and basketball helped shape Sally into the empathetic and resilient young woman she became. Her father Steve started her in playing church league basketball where he loved coaching Sally and her friends in Saturday morning games around Charlotte. Sally eventually picked up tennis and was able to play both sports at school; notably, winning the deciding match in the state tennis championship during her senior year.
Sally shared her joy of competition with her family. She and her mother, Nancy, would play doubles' tennis every morning when they vacationed at Bald Head Island or in Linville. Sally also rallied her sisters and father to join in, usually teaming up with her youngest sister, Lulu, to handily beat their parents, Nancy and Steve. Every Thanksgiving or Christmas that the Saszes hosted cousins, Sally would organize a rowdy game of pickup basketball at Eastover Park. Most games devolved into laughter so intense that the family would have to sit down on the asphalt to recover before getting back into the game. And she was always ready to place an order for Vietnamese food at the family's favorite restaurant, Lang Van.
Sally strove to reach people, and to connect with them. Her senior year art project was a series of portraits, including her grandmother, her cousin, and her sister, Patsy. She connected each portrait with the strings of a tin can telephone; some perfectly intact, and some more frayed. No matter whether she used words, images, music, or food, Sally wanted to see the whole you and understand your experience. She sought to leave the world a better place through deep empathy and powerful connection.
UNC Chapel Hill provided an amazing playground for Sally to explore, create and grow. In one interview for the Morehead Cain scholarship, someone asked Sally what she would do at Chapel Hill that she had never done before. Sally responded that she might join an a capella group, but continued "I can't sing very well, so I think I'd have to be a human beatbox." Everyone on campus recognized Sally as "the girl on the bike," because she would zoom from class to activity, pausing to share a smile, a wave, or a hug with people she knew. Dance parties, Phi Slamma Jamma basketball, cookies and long talks over coffee and scones were her favorite ways to spend her time on campus.
Sally filled her life with amazing explorations and the celebration of simple moments. She spent a summer painting murals in New York City, and worked for the past two summers at the Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, where she met with the artists Hung Liu and Judy Chicago among others. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain and truly made the most of her time in Europe by hopping on a train or plane to visit neighboring countries each weekend. She treasured visiting a farmers market or an art stall on a back road, finding a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant to grab a bite and watching the sun set.
But to capture the truest essence of Sally, you really just needed to walk with her. Ideally, with the family's dogs, who she called "the baby boys," in tow. Kind, genuine and loyal, Sally lit up every room she entered and shared warmth with anyone who would engage. She was introspective and thoughtful, yet being surrounded by friends and loved ones would fill her with energy. She instantly loved people who would share their time with her. She was good; so solidly good.
Sally may have left this world, but she will not leave our hearts or our lives. A small private service for the family was held at Christ Church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to The Charlotte Country Day School, 1440 Carmel Road, Charlotte, NC 28226; The Morehead-Cain Scholarship Fund, Post Office Box 690, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or the Campus Y, 180A E. Cameron Avenue, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 5115, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.
Condolences may be offered at www.harryandbryantfuneralhome.com