Lavina (Billie) Sanchez was born April 19, 1933, to Helen Jeffcoat and Charles Mead on a homestead north of Hamilton.
She attended school at the Little Beaver country school and in Craig. When she was 10, Billie moved to California and lived with her aunt. Billie came back to Craig and lived with her grandparents, William and Bessie Jeffcoat on a homestead near the Thornburg Battleground outside of Meeker. Billie graduated high school in Craig in 1950.
Billie married Ray “Bud” Wagner in 1954. They lived in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah while working construction. They had two children, Christine and Jay. The family moved to Cody, Wyo., in the late ‘60s, where Billie became active in civic organizations and clubs.
She was an organizer and member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) Sorority, and served as treasurer for the Wyoming district in 1969. Billie was also a member, costume designer and performer with the Buffalo Bill Dollies Can Can Dance Troupe, which performed Old West saloon-style shows for the tourists and locals in Cody. Billie loved dancing and performing, a love she shared with and passed on to her granddaughter Amanda.
Billie moved back to Craig after her divorce in the early ‘70s.
She worked as a bookkeeper and bank teller and managed a dress shop in Craig. Billie took continuing education classes and loved learning new things. Billie met Herman Sanchez in the mid-‘70s, and they married in 1977.
Herman and Billie were great companions for 28 years, until his death in 2005. They played cards, golfed, bowled, camped and went fishing together. Billie loved gardening and homemaking and always had lovely gardens and homes wherever she lived. Billie was a member of the Ladies Golf Association and helped to plant and tend the gardens at Yampa Valley Golf Course. Billie also loved playing duplicate bridge in Steamboat and Craig.
Billie was a loving grandmother. She enjoyed playing games, camping and spending time with her grandchildren and children.
She went to concerts, plays and sports games to cheer on her kids. Billie was cared for by her daughter and granddaughter until last year when she moved to Sandrock Ridge. While there, she became close to many of the staff and nurses.
Billie enjoyed attending church and considered The Journey at First Baptist her church home.
Billie passed away after a long battle with cancer and arthritis. She joined her Savior Jesus Christ in Heaven on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Herman, and her mother, Helen Ducey.
She is survived by her daughter, Christine (David) Browning; grandchildren, Amanda and Andy Browning; honorary “adopted” granddaughter Jessie Gorley; and her special little buddy, great-grandson, Tristin Gorley. She is also survived by her son, Jay (Lisa) Wagner; grandsons, Steven and Tallyn; granddaughter, Bailey Wagner; stepfather, Jack Ducey; her beloved dog, Tigger; and many cousins.