Aleksandra “Sandra” Gajic
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our devoted mother, steadfast friend, world traveler, master diver, poet, painter and passionate arts advocate Aleksandra Gajic on December 6, 2019.
Born in Split, Yugoslavia in 1953, she passed away peacefully in Madison, Wisconsin in the loving care of her family, dear friends and the staff of Agrace hospice.
Known to all as Sandra, she was a driven, vivacious woman with a zest for life that few ever match. She had bold aspirations for her life and her ambition led her to earn multiple advanced degrees in Music, Economics, and Management. Her passion for the arts drove her career across many performing arts centers across North America and ultimately led her to Madison where she served as the CEO of Overture Center for the Arts. She quickly fell in love with the city of Madison and its people, putting her heart and soul into the Overture. Amongst her largest regrets was not being able to accomplish her full vision for the organization.
Her most important achievement was the raising of her two loving children Vedran (Janine) and Ivana (Russ), whom she raised independently while working across Europe, Africa, and North America. Among the many passions she shared with her children were a deep love for travel and experiencing diverse cultures around the world. Sandra spoke six languages and collected art and read literature from countries all over the world. Her deep respect for other cultures and diverse identities was reflected in the progressive culture she fostered in every organization she led.
She also loved adventure and wanted to stay active as long as she was physically able. Being born near the sea, she had a lifelong fondness for diving, but also loved hiking, camping on her way to the top of Machu Pichu or the Australian outback, and generally anything that involved water. She appreciated good food and good company along with a nice glass of wine or sip of scotch.
Her accomplishments could fill many lifetimes and her life could make a bestselling novel. Sandra was a woman of great passion, humor, and intellect, and will be deeply missed by her children, many friends and colleagues in Europe, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Madison. Though we are poorer for her loss, all our lives are richer for the times Sandra was part of them.
A celebration of life for Sandra will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society.
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