Sandra Payne was born December 20, 1935 at the Gorgas Hospital in Ancòn, Panama City, Panama, where her parents John D. Payne and Mabel Weigl were stationed. Her father was Executive Engineering Officer with the 13th AAF, “Jungle Air Force.” With the outbreak of war in 1941, Sandra moved with her paternal grandmother, Marion B. Payne to San Francisco. As the child of parents in military service, Sandra lived between New Jersey, New York, California, and Texas before she enrolled in The University of Texas in 1953. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1957 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. After graduation she moved to Houston, where she was hired as an Executive Secretary with Falcon Seabord.
She married Robert M. Brister in Houston on October 4, 1963, and her life revolved around supporting his work as Outdoor Editor for the Houston Chronicle, and Shooting Editor for Field & Stream Magazine. Sandy encouraged Bob’s passions in his work, and they shared trips together to Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, Europe and all over the United States pursuing shooting sports, fishing adventures, photography and journalism. Sandy also raised several Labrador retrievers, a few Brittany Spaniels, and even taught her terriers to retrieve. In 1975, Sandy famously served as the pilot of their station wagon, towing patterning paper affixed to framework installed on a boat trailer for Bob to shoot at during his patterning tests for the book Shotgunning: The Art and Science. Although Sandy admitted to never picking up a gun until she met Bob, she won her share of national, state and regional trophies in various shooting sports disciplines. She also co-Founded Lady Clay Shooters, Inc. in the late 1980’s to promote women’s participation in shooting sports, and was a co-founder of the Annual Ladies Charity Classic at Champion Lakes Gun Club. Sandy was also a very talented seamstress, and needle-pointer, and loved these hobbies until arthritis made the tasks impossible. She dearly loved (and sometimes hated) watching her Texas Longhorns play football.
She is preceded in death by her husband Robert Brister (2005), her father, Col. John D. Payne USAF, mother Mabel Weigl, step-mother Maj. Kate Hopwood Payne USAF, step-father Edgar Earl Otto, and brothers Michael Aner Otto, and Jeffrey Earle Otto. She is survived by her sister-in-law Vickie Otto, brother-in-law Ben Brister, and nephews Zeke Otto, and Zach Otto; her trusty canine companion Lily; as well as an abundance of dear friends throughout the shooting sports community.
Special thanks to be noted to all who lovingly and patiently cared for, prayed for, and supported Sandy through these last few years of her home confinement.
A memorial service for Sandy has been planned for 2:00 p.m., November 18, 2023, at Westside Sporting Grounds, 10120 Pattison Rd., Katy, TX 77493. In lieu of flowers, Sandy would greatly appreciate donations to the Bob Brister Memorial Scholarship at the Moody College of Communication of the University of Texas, 300 W. Dean Keeton (A0900), Austin, TX 78712-5775