Sandra Ross Diaz — beloved nursery school teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend — passed away on June 25, 2021, following heart surgery. She was 72.
She touched thousands of lives as an educator, mentor and friend in the Riverdale community, where she resided for 41 years.
Born in Malmo, Sweden in 1949 to Holocaust survivors Rita and Ben Ross, she and her family emigrated to the Bronx when she was 5. Immensely proud to be a 1966 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, she received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in early childhood education from Lehman College.
She will be remembered as a shining light who made everyone around her feel special, loved and supported. Hers is an example of a life well-lived, one that embodied what it means to love, to hope, to be true to oneself, and to embrace joy.
She taught generations of students during her 21-year career at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School and the Riverdale Nursery School and Family Center. Her love of children and her gift for nurturing them to be emotionally healthy, happy learners influenced countless children and families, many of whom came to honor her in an outpouring of affection.
She was a lifelong learner herself, an avid jewelry maker, member of The Riverdale Y Senior Chorus, and a student of both yoga and Yiddish.
Her radiant smile, musical voice, easy laugh and enthusiasm for life were cherished by all who knew her. She befriended everyone she met, was a kind and compassionate friend, and was devoted to her family, delighting in her grandchildren.
Her legacy will live on in the hearts of all whose lives she touched.
She is survived by her husband Ray Diaz of Riverdale; her son Alex Diaz of Coravllis, Oregon; grandchildren Sephira Diaz and Benaiah Diaz of Oregon; and cousin Jay Hecht of Riverdale.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Holocaust Museum of the Bronx High School of Science at Giving.bxscience.edu/donation. Designate the Holocaust Museum as the recipient, in memory of Sandra Ross Diaz.