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Keeping the Family Legacy Alive

Sandra StudebakerIn 1852, Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company began producing buggies and wagons, switching to automobiles in 1902, six years before the Model T was introduced. It finally shuttered automobile operations in 1966, but lives on with the Studebaker Family National Association. One Macomb alumna and donor, and eighth-generation Studebaker, sees it as a legacy of perseverance.

For her part, Sandra Studebaker has bicycled from Los Angeles to Boston and from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia. The retired librarian has competed in full marathons and half-marathons, running in one of the latter to celebrate her 70th birthday. Now in her 80s, she has taken up racewalking for exercise. Before all that, however, Sandra returned to college part-time after starting her family, earning three degrees in the course of 12 years and doing whatever she could to keep the "wolf from the door."

"When I enrolled at Macomb, I was a wife and mother of two young children," says Sandra. "Part-time attendance and evening classes were essential."

Sandra completed her associate of arts degree and transferred to Wayne State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in education with a minor in library science, attending class part-time for four years. By then she was divorced and seeking full-time employment. She found it and her calling as a library technical assistant in a hospital.

"Who knew hospitals had libraries?" muses Sandra. "I learned the ropes through on-the-job experience, a week of in-depth training at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, and ongoing interaction with local Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group colleagues."

Still, her credentials were not on par with others in the field, and Sandra returned to Wayne State to attend graduate school part-time. After another four years, she earned a Master of Library Science degree and continued to work more than 20 years in the same hospital library, following that up with freelancing for local medical libraries before retiring in 2001.

Although raising two children as a single mom was challenging, nothing prepared Sandra for losing both of them in adulthood. Curtis Allen Cryderman, a husband, father and self-taught automobile restorer, died in 2004 at the age of 41. Denise Rae Cryderman-Williams, a wife, mother, Macomb alumna and retail sales manager, died in 2016 at the age of 60 from multiple system atrophy (MSA). In their memory, Sandra established the Curtis A. Cryderman Memorial Scholarship for automotive technology students at Macomb and the Denise Rae Cryderman-Williams Fund for MSA Brain Research with the Defeat MSA Alliance.

Still driving the 1962 Studebaker Lark that Curtis restored for her, Sandra serves as board member for the Studebaker Family National Association. She also participates in a variety of car shows and events, including those sponsored by the Studebaker clubs to which she belongs.

"There's that jaw-dropping response from some when they learn that the senior citizen at the wheel is a Studebaker by birth," shares Sandra. "The 'car guy' network is huge, and it allows me to proudly display my late son's expert restoration of my pride and joy."

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