Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr

Profile Updated: February 12, 2022
Residing In: Traverse City, MI USA
Spouse/Partner: Mr. Kim Gyr
Occupation: technical writer/editor/communications/retired
Children: Jeff, born 1967. He's divorced and lives near Seattle, Washington. Two stepsons and one daughter.

David, More…born 1969. He's married to Kathy and lives in Santa Clara, California. Two daughters.
Which class? January or June?



I moved to California in 1967 after college and marriage when my husband was based there in the Air Force. Both my sons were born there. We spent a year back in Detroit from 1971-72 but returned to California in 1972. That was our first class reunion, which I was involved with.

After I divorced in 1977, I joined the Peace Corps and was a high school English and history teacher in Kenya, East Africa. I trained in Nashville, Tennessee, and Nairobi, Kenya, before going out to a school about a 40-minute walk from Limuru town, northwest of Nairobi near the Escarpment. Then I transferred to Mariakani, 30 km west of Mombasa near the coast. Loved every minute, learned a little Swahili, made fabulous friends, and learned a lot about myself, my students, and Kenyan culture. Hitchhiked around most of the country and went on a tenting safari to Lake Turkana. Saw most of the animals that live there, and took my sons and ex-husband around the country for a month when they visited.

After my tour, I took two months traveling around the world (a life-long dream) through India, Nepal, city of Bangkok (Thailand), Malaysia, Singapore, and Noumea (New Caledonia) plus a month with my aunt and uncle in Sydney, Australia.

I spent my career after I returned home first as a writer/editor and then manager in technical publications. Transitioned into communications and marketing for companies in the computer industry in Silicon Valley. I also raised my two sons. I moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1989 to continue my career, and did a lot more traveling. I retired in 2008 and moved to Traverse City.

Although I'm 'retired,' I am busier than ever with several organizations, church, book group, gardening, hiking & snowshoeing, reading a lot of books, and knitting. I'm also active in American Association of University Women-Traverse City Area Branch. I served on the board for the International Affairs Forum (IAF). I'm writing a book about the Seppala family too.

At a fundraiser for IAF, I met Kim Gyr. He was from Brighton but lived in Switzerland and England for 30 years. He returned to the States in 2007 and lived near his brother in Empire. We were married in September 2016.

I love having visitors and spending time with family and friends. Two classmates also live in Traverse City. Retirement brought me the time to focus on new things in life. Sadly, I was diagnosed with breast cancer returning in my bones. It is terminal but the chemo pills I take at home seem to keep the cancer from growing. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion in June 2022.

School Story:

I have many memories of my high school years at Denby. I had to be careful in algebra because Miss Hooper knew my mother! It was a great growing-up time, making so many lifelong friends, socializing outside school, my "sorority," dances, and being secretary of our senior class (slogan: Sepp for Sec). Of course, I am pained to remember the suspension for being on that gambling list! And, my summer 1961 as an exchange student to Finland changed my life and worldview. It's probably why I joined the Peace Corps later on! I loved my English class with Mrs. Fleming and biology class with Mr. Garissi. We had a great bunch of people in my classes and we had a lot of fun...

Mrs. Fleming for English—we kept poetry notebooks and wrote poetry (I still have them); Mr. Garissi for biology—some wild lectures.

Football games and winning All-City!

Senior week... hmmm... I'd better keep those stories to myself!

I was lucky to have attended Denby and appreciate all it had to offer even now.

Do you still see/talk to/hang out with any classmates? Who?

Yes, I keep in close touch with Nancy Herschelman Honchell (she's the one who encouraged me to retire Up North), Nancy Herring Pindur, Sandy Dotson Harding, Jan McCairns, Buck Buchanan, Bob Brink, Mary Eccleston Boegler, Tony Grimaldi, Lois Rau Koeber, Joe Tomlinson, and Lloyd Hart. Sally Tait Thomson lives in Cadillac, a few miles south. I keep in touch with others by email. And I hear from others from time to time! The Internet is a wonderful thing! Love seeing and talking to family and friends around the world on Zoom!

High points of your life since high school?

Exchange student to Finland in 1961; married in 1965, graduated from Wayne State in 1966; moved to California in 1967; had two sons and now have grandchildren; served in the Peace Corps in Kenya in 1977-79; traveled around the world; worked in computer industry, in Silicon Valley in the 1980s; moved to Alexandria, VA, in 1989. Worked in computer companies or organizations there. Retired to Traverse City in 2008. Travels: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Kenya live there for 2 years), India, Nepal, Bangkok (Thailand), Noumea (Caledonia), Australia (twice), Sri Lanka, England, Rome (Italy), Geneva (Switzerland), Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, France, Israel, Egypt, St. Lucia. Road trip alone in 2012 from Michigan to West Coast and back. Met my (second) husband in 2015 and married in 2016!

Sandra (Sandy)'s Latest Interactions

Hide Comments
Feb 12, 2022 at 11:15 AM
Feb 12, 2022 at 11:13 AM
Feb 12, 2022 at 11:12 AM

Looking forward to seeing you at our 60th reunion in June 2022!

Jan 09, 2022 at 4:33 AM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr added a comment on her Profile. New comment added.
Feb 28, 2021 at 1:15 PM

Posted on: Feb 28, 2021 at 1:15 PM

Jan 09, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr posted a message. New comment added.
Mar 02, 2020 at 5:22 AM

Posted on: Feb 29, 2020 at 12:36 PM

First time I felt that I was now "old" was when I celebrated my 75th birthday in 2019. I realized that I was now in the fourth quarter and not many finish it. But, I'm celebrating my 76th birthday in this picture and, while I still think about that final quarter, I'm living life with much happiness and joy! I remarried in September 2016 after being divorced for 40 years. Massive and wonderful change as I blast into the future. Starting to plan our next reunion among other plans.

Jan 09, 2020 at 4:36 AM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr posted a message. New comment added.
Mar 01, 2019 at 5:31 AM

Posted on: Feb 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Happy Birthday, Ed. I still remember when we were partners in Chemistry class... Glad that we were friends at Denby and we still are. Celebrate our three-quarters of a century. I threw a party for my birthday in January. Wonderful to be surrounding by so many friends. Best wishes for 2019!

Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jan 09, 2019 at 7:04 PM

Posted on: Jan 09, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Jul 22, 2018 at 8:33 PM

Gerry Henneghan Linder reported the death of Mary. Apologies for mispelled name. Thank you so much for reporting Mary's death. 

Jan 09, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr added a comment on her Profile.
Oct 30, 2017 at 11:03 AM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr added a comment on her Profile.
Oct 28, 2017 at 2:43 PM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jan 09, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Posted on: Jan 09, 2017 at 4:33 AM

Mar 25, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Nancy Herschelman Honchell just sent me this great video about Detroit. It will bring back a lot of memories… look for Denby in it:

Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr posted a message. New comment added.
Jul 01, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Posted on: Mar 23, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Welcome to the new Facebook page on Class Connection for Denby 1962. We still have our regular site and the information you enter on one will be on the other. All information is on Class Connection servers and not on Facebook so is very secure. Any ideas for a 55-year get together?

Mar 23, 2014 at 7:34 PM
Sandra (Sandy) Seppala Gyr changed her "Now" picture. New comment added.
Jan 02, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Posted on: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Hide Comments
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM
Posted: Mar 23, 2014 at 7:39 PM