Cassandra W. Ahrens died on January 15, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, at age 90 after her bout with cancer. Born on June 21, 1932 (near the bottom of the Great Depression), she was very brave and possessed exceptional charisma. When a mean classmate in grammar school didn’t invite her to an elaborate party, Sandra simply organized her own party and competed for guests. She was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1955. Shortly after graduation, Sandra was wed to Robert J. Gilliland, first Mach 3 SR-71 Blackbird test pilot, from Memphis, Tennessee. Following their divorce, Sandra was determined to spread her own wings and make her mark on the world. She moved to New York City to become a world-class fashion model for Bergdorf Goodman and designer, Ben Zukerman. Later in life she worked as a Real Estate Agent for Douglas Elliman. Hers was a high society life in Manhattan. She was particularly proud of her membership in the Colony Club, a women-only club that has included members from the oldest New York families. Her modeling training brought with her an almost magical presence. People would virtually jump to attention when she entered the room. She remarried in 1990 to Conrad F. Ahrens, then President of the Depository Trust Corporation. He was the love of her life. After he retired, they moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Conrad predeceased her in 2017.
Sandra is survived by her sister, Mary Lu Whaling, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; her brother, Forrest J. Wright (wife Sharon) of Farmington, Connecticut; nieces, Sandy (husband Mark) Whaling Wierman of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Julie P. Wright of Farmington, Connecticut; nephews, Robert (wife Betsy) Whaling and Alexander Whaling of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Forrest D. Wright (wife Rachel Lopez) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
No services are scheduled at Sandra’s request. She will reside alongside her husband, Conrad, at Palms Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Donations in her name are welcome at Palms Presbyterian (https://onrealm.org/Palms/-/form/give/now) and Community Hospice (https://www.communityhospice.com/give/).