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Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Sandy Caudra is no more she has gone to that better place - we all strive to go to.

In her life, always - helping, being there for others - striving to do her best - and YES - on her own terms.
We all must remember - that.

The Heart of the Mission - is where Sandy Gaudra was at home - loving, giving, helping, being there for those when most would shun to - represent.

Sandy stood tall - took charge - and when most dared not touch - she handled it with stellar - diligence and delivered. 

So, I went to the alter - created for the occasion at her home she lived in the Mission - not far off from Saint Peter's church.

This alter brought memories - and there among many - were the few left in the Mission that now - truly, represent.

I know them - working with them - daily, on many fronts - this world is better off - because of them.

Sandy Gaudra - was there on the Board of Directors when RAP an organization well known worked miracles.
When others failed to address Violence Prevention and more - RAP was on the front lines - that started other movements and organizations.

Born in San Francisco to the late Ovidio and Esperanza Cuadra, Sandy is survived by her sisters Maria, Lisa, and Patty, brother-in-laws Danny, Manuel, and David and aunts,nieces, nephews, cousins, Godchildren, friends, and colleagues.

The OGs were there in attendance to say their final farewell - Mitchell Salazar, Jim Queen, John Nauer, Roberto Hernandez, Ray Balebran, Esperanza Echavari, Socorro Gamboa, Sam Ruiz, Roban SanMiguel - others - too many to mention.

At Saint Peter's Catholic Church - Francisco Herrera - played his guitar - and sang in a unique manner - he touched the hearts and mind of so many.

Prompted me to walk up to the man who was close to him - asked him for his permission to photograph this once of a kind - poet, singer, man of the hour.

Strumming his guitar - and at one time mentioning 24th and Mission - crying to heaven - that once there was a person that mattered so much -  who dared watch the street standing tall - fearing none -  today, she is no more.

The Church was full to capacity - many in dismay, others in utter shock.

Sandy Gaudra and her dear friends weeping - she stood tall for so many - always embracing, always caring, in her own hood the Mission, first - but in like manner all over San Francisco - be it the Bayview or the Excelsior and beyond. 

Sandy could bring folks together - never mind if it took her sometime - she laid it straight - what most folks who have good hearts like. You may disagree - but it is worth the salt - when you build consensus. We thank you for that Sandy - now, you can work more miracles - from above.

Sandy Caudra worked for the the City of San Francisco - the Department of Public Works - rose to high position of Assistant Superintendent in the Environmental Department - praised by the Mayor - Mayor Edwin Lee who was present at the wake.

Director of Public Works - Mohammed Nuru worked with Sandy on many levels - and I was a witness to his caring, loving, lending a hand - without saying a word - and bringing much comfort to the family - where it really - counts.

The low riders came out in force and you can look at those well groomed cars - they were there riding their best -  to honor the best who cared for all those - in and around the HEART -  the HEART of the MISSION  -in San Francisco.

It was my pleasure to meet so many old friends - who came to the funeral to pay their final respects - to Sandy Cuadra.

Many were surprised to see me - and glad to have known me - all these many years - 30 years, 40 years ago - all of us working in unison.

These warriors were all there - to witness the passing of a person who left deep memories -  a legacy of a kind.

The Pastor of Saint Peter's Church - was caring enough to speak for many - Sandy Cuadra - he said : " was not married but married to everyone". Daring to compare her to Christ who is connected to all that are Christians - and connect to Him - in life and death.

Mitchell Salazar was in tears and it is not too often you catch that tear roll down his eyes - on to his cheek - and see him - wipe that tear away.

Mitchell was shocked by this death of his dear friend - he has shared so much - that few know - but all of it the best - any human can offer to those in and around her - Sandy Cuadra:

Sandy Cuadra you are no more with us
This journey on this Earth has come to some end
You are where - the best go - to receive us
When our time comes - and we must shut our eyes

In life you Sandy - knew no bounds
Embracing all those you cared and loved
When the end came it came quickly
You shocked us - and left us lonely

Etched in our hearts are memories
Memories of a legacy - too hard too follow
Caring, loving, wiping a tear
Bringing those in need - to your bosom - dear

Those that walk the walk are few
More so, with gentrification - we see no more
The OGs of old - they were made of gold
You are one of those - we all are told

The memories of your deeds is what genuinely counts
Alters will be built and tales told in sessions
Once there was a Sandy Cuadra - her commission
To represent - be the Heart of the Mission

Francisco Da Costa
November 6, 2013

Pay your homage as you watch these photographs:

A short documentary on Sandy and her friends: