Sandra “Sandy” Merz Bott | The Gazette

Sandra “Sandy” Merz Bott

Sandra “Sandy” Merz Bott

Cedar Rapids

Sandra “Sandy” Merz Bott, 68, left this life on September 15, 2022 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sandy faced serious health challenges throughout her adult life, mostly due to developing type 1 diabetes at the age of 22. She received a kidney transplant in Iowa in January 2015. She met her challenges with courage, optimism and her Christian faith, as well as the care and expertise of her husband, a nurse. Sandy was a longtime member of the New Covenant Fellowship in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

She met the love of her life, Wilford Bott, when both were students at Lincoln Christian College (Lincoln, Illinois); They married on June 17, 1978, a marriage of 44 years of love and devotion.

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Sandy was born on January 9, 1954 in Springfield, Illinois to Estella and William Merz. She was always an excellent student and intellectually curious. She earned a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Her positivity, kindness, and empathy for others earned her many friends in the university community and with her neighbors in the places where she lived, including not only Champaign-Urbana and Springfield, but also Carbondale, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids.

One of her favorite jobs was book editing at Human Kinetics, a publishing company in Champaign, where she enjoyed editing technical, scientific, and medical textbooks, often interacting with their authors. Sandy was an avid and prolific reader herself, particularly fond of the mysteries “Cosy” and “The Cat Who.” Her deep concern about injustice often prompted her to reach out to elected officials to voice her concerns.

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She valued her large extended family and friends and her beloved pets, most recently her cat Yoko and before that her dog Shirah and cat Shadow. They meant more to her than material things, except perhaps for new fabrics and yarns, which her skills as a talented seamstress allowed her to transform through sewing, quilting or crocheting, her most passionate hobbies.

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In addition to her husband Wilford and their cat Yoko, Sandy’s survivors include sisters Nancy (Dennis) McMurray of Springfield, Illinois and Mary Ellen (Michael) Petrosky of Glenarm, Illinois; nephew Stephen (Amber) Salefski of Chatham, Illinois; niece, Shelby Salefski (fiancé, Nate Doms) of Springfield, Illinois; grandnephews, Landon, Eli and Ezra Salefski; an aunt, Norma Hinkle; an uncle, Frank (Marilyn) Houston; and many cousins.

A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, October 24 at 6 p.m. at Erin’s Pavilion at Southwind Park, 4965 South Second St., Springfield, Illinois.

Please share your support and memories with Sandy’s family on her Tribute Wall at under Obituaries.

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