Former Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal laid to rest

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Friends and family spent Saturday celebrating the life of former First Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal.

Deal passed away from a hard-fought battle with breast cancer on Tuesday at the age of 80.

During the service at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, people who knew her best talked about the incredible life she led.

[READ: ‘Genuine kindness:’ Former Ga. First Lady Sandra Deal remembered for her dedication to education]

“I cherished every moment that I ever spent with her,” one woman who spoke at the funeral said.

Speakers remembered her kindness, her humor and her commitment to reading to children.

“As she will for so many Georgians, Mrs. Deal will remain steadfast in our hearts and memories, just as her family will be in our prayers during this time of mourning. As she goes to await them in a greater world, we ask all Georgians to join us in celebrating her life and contributions to a thankful state,” Governor Brian Kemp said after her death.

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During her time as First Lady between 2011 and 2019, Deal worked to improve literacy across the state, visiting schools in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and 181 school districts to read to students.

“When she went to the mansion, she didn’t acquire a new public persona. She was always the same person,” friend Kathy Lovett said.

Deal also had a love for music. It was featured throughout the celebration of life service.

“It’s sad to lose your mom, to lose your wife, but having all of these friends here and remembering my mom and all the funny times, it’s uplifting,” said son Jason Deal.

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The Deal family has also established the Deal Foundation to continue the first lady’s work with reading advocacy.