Born Francis DeHerrera on April 4th, 1918 in Mogote, her family was among the original settlers of the San Luis Valley who came from New Mexico in the 1870’s. Sandoval is one of nine children and her childhood home was along the Conejos River, where her parents were ranchers. Her father was also instrumental in the building of the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad.
At approximately 13 years old, Sandoval’s family relocated to Salida where she spent the majority of her growing up years. While in Salida, she met the neighbor’s son, Luis Sandoval, who would later become her husband. “He was friends with my brother and we would all play ball in the yard together,” she recalled. As the two got older, they dated off and on and finally “got back together.” Sandoval graduated high school in 1938 and the couple married in 1940. Sandoval spent thirty years in Northglenn where she raised her family and worked as a nurses’ aid at St. Anthony’s Hospital of Denver. “ I would take care patients after surgery,” she said. During her final year of nursing, she got to work in infant care where she would get to “bathe the babies and take them to their mothers.”
She returned to Alamosa at 80 years old. She has two sons who have raised families of their own. The oldest lives in Denver, and the younger, Dan lives in the Alamosa area. Her youngest brother, Al is her only living sibling who lives in Seattle. Dan notes that his mother is still very independent and “can speak for herself.” Her success has been attributed to the fact that she has taken care of herself and that she still has a great deal of interaction with friends and neighbors such as Ruth Dixon. While there are countless changes that she has seen over her lifetime, it is clear that she has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.