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Evalyne P. Sandidge | School secretary, 80

Evalyne Purcell Sandidge, 80, of West Philadelphia, a retired secretary who worked for the School District of Philadelphia for nearly 30 years, died Wednesday of heart failure at home.

Mrs. Sandidge began working for the school district in the late 1960s. She provided administrative support in offices at the Comegys Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia, University City High School, West Philadelphia High School and Vaux Middle School in North Philadelphia.

She juggled her career with raising three daughters, one of whom had cerebral palsy. Mrs. Sandidge and husband Ernest Paul Sandidge arranged - and rearranged - schedules so that daughter Paula could live at home and attend school, activities at the Variety Club and work programs. Paula Sandidge died at 38 in 1991.

Mrs. Sandidge grew up in Wilmington. She moved to New York to attend Brooklyn College and met her husband in 1949 at a Horn & Hardart restaurant.

"She needed a seat and there were no seats left," said Adrienne Hill, the couple's daughter. "He moved his coat and offered his seat. She made a comment that she didn't realize there were any gentlemen left." They married seven months later.

In addition to her daughter and husband of 59 years, Mrs. Sandidge is survived by a daughter, Denise Spaulding; one brother; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A viewing will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 5732 Race St. Services follow at 11 a.m. Burial is in Eden Cemetery.