Sandra Elizabeth Lain Raftis passed away on April 27, 2010. She was 69 years old. Sandra was born in Washington D.C. and traveled the world with her military family. College was her 25th school. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts. When Sandra was only hours away from receiving her Doctorate, she moved to New York City. An accomplished actress and dancer, she worked in numerous productions both on and off Broadway. In November of 1971 she married Nick Raftis, with whom she had her only child, Cassie. The family settled in Connecticut, where Sandra played her very favorite role: ‘Mom’. In 1984, she moved to Texas where she resumed her theatrical career. Sandra worked at the Alley Theatre in Houston, The Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals, College of the Mainland, Galveston Ballet, The Upper Deck Theatre, Broadway Bound, Island ETC, The Strand Theatre in Galveston, and many other venues. Hurricane Ike destroyed a lifetime collection of theatrical memorabilia, so it is impossible to say how many hundreds of productions she graced with her talent and discipline.
Her career as an educator paralleled her career in the theatre. Generations of artists have learned from her both onstage and off. Whether performing, directing, designing, or teaching, she brought her whole self to the task at hand. Her wise guidance and the natural elegance of her taste have evoked the finest work from every creative associate. Because Sandra was Sandra, it was always fun and exciting.
Flexible and inventive, she also used her theatrical skills and her experience as an educator, participating in the UTMB Standardized Patient Care Program, helping to train new doctors. She is still teaching.
Sandra loved all animals. She rescued hundreds and kept and cared for many of the Island’s lost and lonesome strays. She was personally, and financially responsible for a whole neighborhood of notched-eared cats.
Despite dimming eyesight, Sandra was always a student. She read constantly and was a dedicated researcher on an amazing range of subjects. Her curiosity, sense of wonder and enthusiasm were irresistible and contagious. She touched so many lives with her love of learning.
In late January of 2010, Sandra was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at MD Anderson Hospital on April 27th. She made her exit, as always, with grace and compassion for those around her.
She is survived by hundreds of friends and loved ones, including Nick Raftis, the father of her beloved daughter Cassie, her son-in-law George Parker, and their son (Sandra’s grandson), Eli. A second grandson will arrive in early July. Sandra will also be deeply missed by her step-children Dennis Raftis, Jason Raftis, and Iris Luongo, her Connecticut family: Georgia Raftis Kassimis, her husband James and their children, her Florida family: Fred Raftis and children, and her New York family Mary and Louis Raftis and children.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Galveston Humane Society and/or ETC at The Strand Theatre.
We will celebrate Sandra’s life on Saturday May 15th at 2:00pm at ETC at The Strand Theatre in Galveston, 2317 Ship’s Mechanic Row.