Sandy (Sandy) Dubpernell was born on January 26, 1938, in New York to Johan Ragnvald Amundsen and Magnhild Jensen. She was the first born in the US to this immigrant family from Norway. She attended high school in Tenafly, New Jersey, where she graduated 3rd in her class. After high school she attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in biology. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation, she started her career at Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River, NY, in the development and safety testing of the Sabin oral poliovirus vaccine. She later attended night classes at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, where she obtained a Masters Degree in Biology.
She loved her job and remained at the laboratory until relocating to Coupeville in 1988 with her husband, Daniel Dubpernell. She and Dan divorced 4 years later, but remained friends until his passing. They had no children. She fell in love with Whidbey Island but refused to travel to Seattle to find jobs in her field. So, for several years she worked as secretary and later as a Realtor for Center Isle Realty (now Windermere) in Coupeville.
She became an advocate for animals in 1993 when she joined Beach Watchers, later becoming a volunteer and Board Member for the Orca Network. In 2002 she was trained in response and evaluation of dead and stranded marine mammals by NOAA. She became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, responding to hundreds of stranded or dead harbor seals, sea lions, and harbor porpoises, organizing and assisting in necropsies which helped satisfy her interest in pathology. She also helped clean and prepare skeletal specimens for education and display at the Langley Whale Center.
Sandy took up the hobby of creating copper foiled stained glass panels before leaving the east coast. Some of her pieces are in Haiti and India. Seeing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest she continued her glass art, specializing in flowers from her gardens and her love of local marine mammals. She was a member of the Garry Oak Gallery in Oak Harbor and the Penn Cove Gallery in Coupeville, where her remaining art is available for purchase in Coupeville.
Sandy volunteered for WAIF working in the cat shelters. She fostered several kitten litters and always fell in love with one or two furry babies, eventually ending up with 6 happy and healthy cats.
In 2011, Sandy joined the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge in Coupeville to pursue her interest in her Nordic Heritage, eventually becoming the Rental Coordinator for the Lodge.
She loved to travel and explore new places, especially to see some of her beloved animals. In addition to the Caribbean, she traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, England, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Azores, Sea of Cortez, and twice on safari to Kenya and Tanzania with various adventurous traveling companions. Her favorite places were the Antarctic and the Northwest Passage, traveling in the footsteps of Norwegian explorers. She traveled to Churchill, Svalbard and Kaktovik (AK) to get her “polar bear fix”, another of her favorite animals.
In 2018, Sandy received the Jan Holmes Volunteer of the Year Award presented by the Marine Resources Committee, Washington State University Extension, and Sound Water Stewards of Island County.
Sandy is survived by her friend Dean Webber and the many wonderful friends she made through her happy and satisfying life.
There will be no service. Cremation will be handled by the Neptune Society. Sandy asks that her friends spread her ashes in Saratoga Passage where she might “mingle” with her favorite orcas, gray whales, harbor seals and beloved elephant seals. Donations may be made to Orca Network or to Senior Services of Island County. A Memorial gathering is being planned.