Sandra Gaines Arnold Watkins, 68, of Hot Springs, won her battle against cancer on August 1, 2013, when she was perfectly healed in Heaven.

Born on November 17, 1944 in Hope, Sandra Ann Gaines was the oldest child of the late James C. Gaines and Lavern Purtle Gaines of Hope. She graduated from Hope High School in 1962 and later, in 1966, from Henderson State Teachers College in Arkadelphia. She went on to teach hundreds of young men and women at a number of different levels in Arkadelphia, Hope and in Siler City, N.C. Known by an entire generation of Arkadelphia High School alumni as the Spanish teacher, "Senora Arnold," she was a continuing quiet but supportive presence in the lives of many.

She will be terribly missed by her husband, Guy Watkins, Jr., of Hot Springs and her children, Dr. Jay Arnold (Jessica) of Hot Springs, JaNan Davis of Maumelle, and Jill Fletcher (Blake) of Cabot. Her five grandchildren, Elizabeth Davis, Emmeline ("Emme") Davis, Ella Fu Davis, Alli Arnold, and Tyce Fletcher will miss their "Sansy", but they will continue to make her proud with their every breath. Her mother Lavern Purtle Gaines, of Hope, and her best friends and little sisters, Jan Wright (George) and Betty Hightower (Butch) all of Hot Springs, will carry her precious memory with them each time they get together. Her family, including her brother, Mike Gaines (Mary) of Hope and all of her nieces, nephews and their children will continue to celebrate her life for years to come with thousands of wonderful memories. Even her dog, Macy, who was her constant companion, will be affected by her loss.

Sandra loved life on the lake and spending time reading in her chair next to Guy. She had thoroughly enjoyed being able to reconnect with so many through social media in the last several years. She loved going anywhere with family and friends and never turned down a shopping trip just because of the time it offered her with the people she loved. She kept albums of pictures of her trips with her high school girlfriends, and loved to talk about the fun they all had. She relished watching her grandbabies swim in her pool and was there with them all, enjoying watermelon, just days before she went home to Heaven. No matter what she did, she always put others before herself. Her peace and happiness came from knowing that everyone else was taken care of first.

Her family wants to thank Dr. Fred Divers and the many doctors and medical personnel of Mercy Hospital who were present and fighting with her through the final months of her journey on Earth.

A graveside service to celebrate her life was held on Monday, Aug. 5 at Memory Gardens in Hope.

Arrangements were handled by Herndon-Pharr Funeral Home in Hope. In lieu of flowers, Sandra would be honored by a gift to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice.