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Sarah Jill Teeples

Dedicated teacher, loving mother and grandmother

Tireless teaching and service defined the life of longtime Claremont resident Sandra Teeples, who died comfortably and courageously surrounded by her family and close friends in late January 2014. She was 72.

She was born Sandra Jill in the spring of 1941 in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Marwood and Wallace Sayer. At the young age of 2, she met the first of her lifelong childhood friends—bonds that would last 70 years and counting. She earned the nickname “Teny” from her grade school friends. This reference to her tiny feet became a term of endearment from her closest friends, who called her by that name her entire life. 

During those early years, young Sandra’s jobs included picking sacks of potatoes to earn money for school clothes, helping her father at their family-owned grocery store and later, in her teens, working at her family’s motel, the San Dee Motel, named after Sandra and her sister DeAne. She spent a summer after high school with several friends working in a curio shop at the Grand Canyon.

She would go on to attend Brigham Young University in Utah with her close friends from Idaho Falls. It was at BYU that she would meet her soon-to-be husband, Ronald Teeples. They were married in the summer of 1964 and moved to California, where she taught grade school while Ron pursued his postgraduate degrees. They moved to Claremont in 1969, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives.

It was in Claremont that they would plant their roots, build their family home, raise their two children, Ryan and Jill, pursue their callings as educators and forge friendships that would last decades. Mrs. Teeples earned her master’s degree and retired after 30 years of teaching elementary school, most of that time spent in the Diamond Bar School District.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a very important part of Mrs. Teeples’ life. She served in many different capacities and callings over the years. Always the teacher and example, she will be remembered most for her overwhelming kindness and service to others.

After Mr. Teeples’ sudden passing in 2008, she continued their plan for retirement by traveling with family and friends all over the United States, throughout Europe, into the Middle East and on safari in the south of Africa. 

Mrs. Teeples was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May of 2011. Despite such dire news, her strength and resolve surprised even those who knew her best. Her spirit and determination allowed her loved ones to enjoy her company for 18 months longer than her original prognosis. She leaves a lasting impression on those whose lives she has touched.

“We will all miss her beautiful smile, tremendous generosity, selfless service, overwhelming kindness, tender hugs, quick wit and the gifts of origami money she was famous for,” her family shared.

Mrs. Teeples is survived by and was a wonderful mother to daughter Jill, son Ryan, daughter-in-law Yvette and her two grandchildren, Alexandra and Haley. 


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