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Sarah Oppenheimer Dies at 56

Ballerina and devoted wife and mother passed away at home this week after a long illness.

Sarah Elizabeth Smith Oppenheimer, 56, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 surrounded by her family at her home in Mill Valley.

Sarah danced her way into life when she was born in Waukegan, Illinois on April 27, 1956 to Allen Thomas Smith and the late Gloria Gale. She grew up in Alexandria, Virginia where she began a lifetime career as a classical ballerina.

Sarah was professionally trained at the Washington School of Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Her passion for ballet was paramount in her life. Her natural born talent was exceptional. Her interpretation and articulation in movement was brilliant.

Sarah lit up any stage whether it was at The Kennedy Center, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, or at the War Memorial in San Francisco.

This incredible foundation transcended into her life in Mill Valley where she was a devoted wife and mother (the best!), and shared her love of dance by inspiring the many young dance students she mentored.

Family and friends would all agree that Sarah was the picture of perfection in every facet of life, setting the gold standard for all of us. Her flair for fashion, impeccable taste, and creativity were the envy of all. Her grace and beauty were noticed wherever she went. Even those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing her personally were touched by her extraordinary warmth and sunny disposition.

The joy she expressed and the compassion she had for others will never be forgotten. To know Sarah is to love Sarah!

Sarah is survived by her two beautiful children, Julie Mayer Oppenheimer, 27, of San Francisco, and Liza Gale Oppenheimer, 25, of Los Angeles; her loving husband of 31 years, John Oppenheimer; her father, Allen T. Smith of Alexandria, VA; her siblings, William John Smith III of St. Helena, Julie Barrett of Laguna Niguel, Lucy Baldwin of Chicago, Molly Langdon of Sausalito and Harry Smith of San Diego as well as many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the charity of your choice.

A celebration of Sarah’s life will be held at the Mill Valley Community Center on Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 2-4PM. Friends are welcome!

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