Sara S. Hastings
February 13, 1939 ~ October 14, 2023
Resided in: Kings Park, NY
Sara Lynn Hastings-Sprague, formerly known as Sara Lynn Crandall, known by all as Mom and Grandma, passed away on October 14, 2023. As her many names would imply, she lived a fantastic life full of love surrounded by her family. Sara was born in Lancaster, OH, on February 13, 1939. She was an only child and a Daddy’s Girl. She loved her parents very much but had a particular affinity for her father, and who could blame her? Her father always came home happy and whistling. He would come down the sidewalk, turn into the house, and whistle through the door. Life was good. Sara grew up like any normal kid with a pet chicken at her side until years later when it became dinner. Wait, what?! Okay, maybe not so normal after all, but back then a chicken couldn’t be a pet for too long. Don’t let the urban farm life mentality fool you; Sara was nothing of the sort. Later in life, she would go on to be a world traveler and artist, but her greatest achievement was motherhood. She never understood why her parents only wanted one child; Sara was the polar opposite. She was the mother to six. Yes, six! There was the age-old joke that she was just trying for a boy, John, her favorite they all would say. But the sisters all know that’s not the case at all. She loved all her kids very much: from Lisa, the oldest to Amy, Laura, Sara, Molly, all the way down to that youngest boy, John. As her family grew, it took a few twists and turns, as life does for those who live it to the fullest as Mom did.
In Mom’s younger years, She was known as Mrs. Crandall, married to Joel Crandall, a loving father to Lisa, Amy, and Laura. Mom met Joel as a student at Ohio State University. Joel was a Navy man destined to start Mom on her journey worldwide and spark her love for a large family and adventure. Life in the military kept them on the move. Beginning at the age of 20, the fearless chicken lover convinced her parents to give her the money needed to follow Joel to the Mediterranean on a Tramp Steamer of all things (it’s worth a Google), where she would spend many days and nights eating and living amongst the captain and crew just to be close to her new love. The family would go on to live in countless locations. After leaving Lancaster Mom would be on the move in military fashion for the better part of two decades. Sara’s first home was in Newport, RI, but she would later move on to Monterey, CA; Norfolk, VA; Lexington Park, MD; Bath, ME; Fairfax, VA; Beaconsfield, England; and finally, parking the family in Port Jefferson, NY in 1980. It would prove to be challenging not just with travel, but with love. As her family expanded and travels continued, she later became known as Mrs. Hastings, when she took the name of her second husband, Ralph Hastings. Ralph was also in the Navy and not only the loving father to Sara, Molly, and John but also brought two sons from a previous marriage, Frank and David, into the ever-growing family, bringing the total to eight. This would start the next chapter in Sara’s life, still full of adventure, family, and love.
Let’s call it the Crandall-Hastings-real-world-Brady-Bunch-story chapter (pithy, right?). Sure, maybe it wasn’t as wholesome and happy all of the time as the original sitcom, but everyone made it work, and the family meshed together in a way that the siblings all felt as one. Lisa, the oldest Crandall, would play a big role in helping mom with “little” John, keeping him happy with ‘hurdy-gurdy’ and a ‘bork, bork, bork’ as she’d imitate the Swedish Chef from the muppets. Mom would need all the help she could get because, with a newborn in hand, it was time for the next move! You may be wondering why Sara chose to move with a newborn! It all started with thoughts of retirement, but Mom wasn’t about to let Ralph retire as a Lobsterman in Bath, MA!
Okay, maybe he wasn’t a Lobsterman and instead enjoyed an outing on a lobster boat for the day. However, a funny thing happened that day as Ralph was out at sea contemplating retirement prospects. A new assignment came in for Ralph, and the Navy gave the commanding officer the Hastings home number. Mom intercepted the call and was happy at first to say, “No, he’s not interested. He is retiring in July and is on a lobster boat at the moment”. The commanding officer said, “I wish you’d ask him to reconsider because the tour of duty would be in London for three years.” Mom, with her steadfast reply, said, “he’ll take it!”, and off the family went to jolly old England. Everyone enjoyed this tour, but more importantly, it would be the first time Sara would make the call where her family would move next, and not the last. When the tour was done, Ralph said, “The military has made all the decisions for you your entire life. I have several job offers back in the States, and I want you to pick where we go next”. Mom would make the final call where the family would finally put roots in the ground, Port Jeff, NY, where Mom would call home for all of her children, near and far.
Mom relished her time with her children and grandchildren. She loved being a part of their lives and continued her travels as her children spread across the country. She frequently visited Laura in Seattle, Amy in Austin, and Lisa in Virginia Beach and Charleston. Sara even attended the inaugural Formula One race in Texas! She Traveled to Japan with Lisa and “Japan” in Epcot with Sara Jr. Mom took vacations with Sara, Molly, and John, and she helped care for her grandchildren on Long Island. All of her grandchildren will have fond memories of their times together. Grandma was there to meet each new grandchild, even once traveling all the way to Iceland. In her later years, the grandkids continued to be her entertainment, bringing smiles to her face at every family event.
Sara lived a full and vibrant life. This tribute captures a tiny morsel of the extraordinary life lived. In the end, Molly brought Grandma back to the town she loved most, and where she kept the memories and love for all her kids. Molly, who would take Mom in and care for her during her final years, settled her in for one last night in Port Jefferson and said, “Good night, Mom, you’re home. Everybody Loves Raymond (her favorite show) is on, and everyone loves you.” Sara Lynn Hastings will live on through her beloved children who continue to grow the family she loved so much, adding ten grandkids and four great-grandkids who will always hold Grandma close to their hearts.
Sara’s wake will be at Branch Funeral Home in Miller Place, October 19, 2:00-4:00 and 7:00-9:00, with a service at 8:00 pm