by Shawn Simpson
Sandra Moran Pletcher died on Saturday at the age of 46. She was an award-winning author and adjunct professor of cultural anthropology at the college for 14 years, forging a reputation as an excellent educator and co-worker. The effect of her loss will be felt on campus beyond the classroom, according to William McFarlane, professor and chair of the anthropology department, as well as a close friend.
“She was one of the most loved professors that I’ve ever seen on campus, and her students just adored her,” McFarlane said. “She was a fantastic communicator. She loved anthropology and was able to articulate the way she saw the world in a way that her students could understand. She challenged her students to see the world through new eyes.”
Pletcher graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in newspaper journalism in 1992. She received her master’s degree in public administration in 2001 and anthropology/archeology in 2011, also from KU. Prior to becoming a professor, she worked as a newspaper reporter and political speech writer.
Her published works of fiction explore the roles of women in different time periods and various walks of life. “Letters Never Sent,” Pletcher’s telling of a small-town Kansas girl’s exploration of her late mother’s past, won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Historical Fiction and Best Lesbian Debut Novel. It was also a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction in the 26th Annual Triangle Awards.
Pletcher is survived by her spouse, Cheryl, of Lenexa, as well as multiple family members, friends and readers. A memorial service is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Regnier Center’s Capital Federal Auditorium on the college’s campus.
Her official obituary can be found at heartlandcremation.com