Sandy entered the world at the old Quesnel hospital, the fifth of six children born to Arnold and Evelyn Cash.
He grew up in a small farm environment, preferring the mechanical side of farming, while being involved with the livestock as well. He spent many hours on horseback while growing up, a pastime that he continued in later life. The family moved several times during Sandy’s early years, settling on West Fraser Rd. Sandy attended West Fraser Elementary School, where he was active in wrestling and track & field, winning many trophies. He was also active in 4H and Air Cadets.
Sandy graduated from Correlieu Secondary in 1974, having shown great aptitude in all subjects, except English, which he hated. While a student at Correlieu, Sandy, now an officer in Air Cadets, spent a summer at Camp Borden Ontario and a summer in Victoria, where he earned his pilot’s licence. After graduation Sandy spent several weeks travelling around BC and Alberta with his cousin Bruce Kittle, after which he returned home to work at West Fraser Mills.
At this time he met Kay Whitehead with whom he would spend the rest of his life, raising two sons and building the home of their dreams. They began their life together in rental accommodation for a very short time. They then purchased a trailer which they moved onto a piece of property leased from Sandy’s parents. In 1979, in order to have funds to purchase the property, they sold the trailer and lived in tents for the summer while Sandy built a cabin which is today part of his brother’s house.
Kay worked at the Bank of Montreal at this time and would take her clothes and toiletries to work and get ready for the business day in the cloakroom.
In 1980 the opportunity presented itself for Sandy to attend Malaspina College in Nanaimo to become a draftsman, something he had shown talent for in high school. The family moved to Nanaimo that summer, Kay going first having transferred to one of the Nanaimo branches of the bank. During the time Sandy attended college, Kay, in addition too still working at the bank part time, took first year accounting. After college both worked in Nanaimo until the recession of 1983, at which time Sandy was laid off.
The family decided to move back to Quesnel, where they had many contacts so a better chance of Sandy getting work. They were able to buy a piece of property on what was then the Garner Road, from close friends. They lived in tents again that summer. Kay worked full time at the bank and Sandy set about building the family a cabin. He got a log cutting permit from the forestry, felled the logs himself. An old school friend, with a logging truck, hauled the logs to the site where Sandy and his sons, Paul & Alan, set about peeling them, ready for building.Sandy built the cabin using a European method that requires no chinking. Ever the resourceful, he set up an old truck rear end to act as a crane with which to lift the logs into place. The family, which included three dogs and two cats, moved into the cabin on September 30, with plastic over the windows and doors but dry salt. A door was put on before winter but plastic stayed on the windows for several years. That first winter Sandy carried buckets of water from the shallow well to the house and to the horses. The following summer the luxury of a hand pump was added – running water!
In 1984 Sandy was contracted by a local company to do the drawings for Quesnel’s present airport, as he had experience with ink on Mylar. At the same time, to keep money coming in, he split firewood for the parks’ department. During the winter of 1984/85 he took industrial first aid and emergency medical courses so that he could work park time on the ambulance. The highlight of his ambulance work was attending a small plane crash at Bowron Lake, where he worked on a young boy with part of his brain exposed.Sandy was told later that the boy made an almost 100% recovery.
Later in 1985 Sandy was hired by a forestry consultant to do some drafting work which led to his first forestry bush work. He continued on a casual basis with that company, meeting someone he was to work with for the rest of his life, until the summer of 1986, when he was hired to work in the forestry department of Quesnel Forest Products, now Canfor, where he remained until his death, doing a variety of jobs in the forestry department. Most of all he loved to work in the bush and would take any opportunity to have a bush day.
With both Sandy and Kay now in full time employment electricity was added to their home in 1987, family and friends helped clear the right of way to keep costs down.
Sadly also in 1987, their son, Alan Whitehead, was killed in a car accident on his way to work, a true tragedy in their lives, which put all the small annoyances of life into perspective. Picking themselves up and carrying on, they continued to work on “their place” finally building onto the cabin in 1990 which brought with it, the long awaited bathroom. Next came the shop, in which Sandy spent many happy hours working on his wood carvings, building dog agility equipment, working on his snowmobile or planning either a building or something he or Kay wanted. He was fond of saying that it was no more snow bank carpentry for him. Sandy never built anything the ordinary, straightforward way. Doors would have windows that had many curved sides. A parking cover would be supported by what looked like four up-side-down milking stools or logs leaning into each other in such a way as to support any amount of snow load.
Sandy was always designing or planning something. He would sit with his graph paper in hand, drawing then staring off into space for a while, then drawing again. There was nothing he couldn’t build, no problem he couldn’t solve. All he needed was to think for a minute and he’d have it figured out.
Anyone that spent time with him in the bush knew that feeling of being totally safe with Sandy along. He also enjoyed hiking, canoeing, camping, horse riding and most of all snowmobiling. When fall came he would get a big smile on his face and be heard to say “fresh snow in the mountains.” His favourite snowmobiling trips were with his brother Dewey. They had many stories to tell, the snowmobile equivalent of fishing stories.
There was so much more to do. He and Kay had so many plans for when he retired. Unfortunately, in the blink of an eye, doing one stupid and totally out of character thing, in his life and it was all over. He was a good man. Always the first on the scene if someone needed help and the last one to leave.
He is survived by his wife Kay, son Paul (Kathy), grandchildren Kayla, Alexandra & Christopher. Mother Evelyn, brothers Lee (Linda), Richard (Biz), Dewey (Karen), sisters Louise (Don), Shirley (Dan) and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. He was predeceased by his son Alan, father Arnold and cousin Bruce.