Sandra Purkins Buckingham Jones

March 31, 1937 - May 8, 2023

March 31, 1937 – May 8, 2023

Sandra Purkins Buckingham Jones passed away on May 8, 2023, in Reno, NV, at the age of 86 years old.
She was born on March 31, 1937, in Prescott, AZ, the second child and only daughter of Carl and Rexie Purkins.
Carl was a telegrapher for the Santa Fe Railroad at the time so, consequently, Sandra’s first home was a railroad boxcar at Double Track Junction outside of Holbrook, AZ, where she joined her brother, Rex.
She loved to reminisce about many special memories from her childhood.
In July of 1941, Carl married Lettie Richards of Joseph City, AZ, and in 1947, the family moved to the White Mountains where they lived in a tent, waiting for the train depot to be vacated in McNary, AZ, which was on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
She fondly spoke of riding her horse, Ben, and said she wanted to grow up and marry a rancher so she could ride a horse every day.
Sandra graduated from McNary High School in 1955. She loved playing her trumpet in the band and being in the Glee Club.
In 1957, she moved to Winnemucca, NV, where she worked for three years with Harold Jacobsen’s insurance business.
She met Ken Buckingham, a cattle rancher, on a blind date. In 1960, they married and lived in Paradise Valley, NV, for 22 years.
The biggest joy in her life was raising their three children, Karen, Lisa and Dave. They were all active in 4-H, school, and, of course, with ranch life. Sandra taught music at the Paradise Valley grade school for twelve years as a volunteer and gave piano lessons (also guitar and accordion) at her home for several years, charging only one dollar per lesson.
She didn’t care about the money, she just enjoyed seeing her students learn to play the instrument and learn to love music.
In 1982, she moved to Phoenix, AZ, where she worked 20 years for the financial and insurance services company, “Sun America Securities”, which later became “American International Group, Inc.” (“AIG”). She loved her job and co-workers and had perfect attendance. In 1999, she was awarded “Employee of the Year”.
After retirement, she married Buck Jones, a high school classmate from her McNary, AZ, days and moved to Idabel, OK, in 2004.
They enjoyed a great life traveling around the country visiting family and friends and going to annual Marine Corps reunions, since Buck was a retired Marine.
They lived in Oklahoma until he passed away in 2017, following which she moved to Reno, NV, to be closer to her three children and their families. She maintained a special friendship with Ken through the years until he passed away in 2021.
Sandra had the best sense of humor, was quick-witted and loved to subtly tease and joke around with people. Her children affectionately called her “Ma Hobbs” and “Mamasita”, among a few other nicknames that made her smile.
Besides giving music lessons, she played for numerous school programs in Paradise Valley, and weddings and funerals in Nevada and Arizona. She loved music, playing the piano since age 4.
She was very patriotic, loved being outdoors, reading (especially autobiographies and newspapers), taking pictures, working on photo albums, sending cards, and writing letters.
Sandra was thrilled to reconnect with friends from her childhood days and later years via Facebook. She was very easy-going, never treated anyone as a stranger and loved to make people smile.
She may have been petite in size but had the biggest heart and most captivating personality. She had a very strong survivor mentality and braved the hardships of life with relentless perseverance.
As a result, she is leaving behind many broken hearts, but filled with cherished memories that will remain forever embedded in our hearts.
Sandra was the eternal optimist. She told anyone who might be having a bad day that, “it will be better in the morning”. Her mottos in life were, “life is too short to be unhappy” and “you can’t worry about what you can’t control”. She recently said, “flowers are for the living, so please do not send flowers when I pass, just tell your friends and family how much they mean to you”.
She also wanted to remind everyone to “keep in close touch with the ones you love” and “life is short and very precious”. She tried to enjoy every day as if it was her last.
Of all the numerous achievements Sandra accomplished throughout her lifetime, she was proudest and most thankful for her family.
Her family is equally proud and thankful to have treasured her for 86 years. We will dearly miss her sense of humor, sweet smile, unrelentless optimism, wisdom and immense love she showed to all of us.
Sandra is survived by her daughters, Karen (Doug) Kornbrust, Reno, NV, Lisa Tauchen, St. George, UT, and son, David (Corinne) Buckingham, Paradise Valley, NV; grandchildren, Riley (Markee), Garek (Isabel), and Heather Tauchen, Sara Buckingham and Chris Kornbrust; great-grandchildren, Vanna and Dominic Tauchen; nephew, Jacob (Brittany) Purkins; several cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews and countless friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents Carl, Rexie and Lettie Purkins; brother, Rex, and half-brother, Patrick Driscoll, who she connected with later in life; nephew, Josh Purkins; and son-in-law, David Tauchen.
Sandra did not want a memorial service. She clearly conveyed that her passing should motivate everyone to reach out soon and express their love and appreciation towards family and friends. Tomorrow is not promised.