Mrs. Carmen Bonita Byam, daughter of the late Mable and John Sands, was born November 25, 1955 in New York, New York. She attended the public school system and graduated from Capella University, with a master’s degree in Social Work.
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She dedicated her life to social work. She started her career as a Social Worker at the Bureau of Child Welfare (BCW), now known as ACS, Administration for Children Services. After completing 20 years with the city, she moved on to the private sector because she believed she had more opportunities to effect change in the lives of children. She ended her career as a Supervisor at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.
Carmen was a devoted daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and above all, friend. She believed in fostering a strong community; which is why you would often find her cooking for those in her community. Carmen loved to cook. She would try different cuisines and try to replicate them. She was a true “foodie” before it became mainstream. On her free time, Bonita loved watching crime shows and soap operas. She also enjoyed getting manicures and pedicures, as well as listening to all types of music and making people laugh.
Family members say that Carmen was selfless. She had a big heart and always had a smile on her face even when times were rough. Carmen always sacrificed her needs for the good of her family. She will forever be remembered and loved.
She quietly departed this life on August 7, 2020. Carmen Bonita Byam will be joining her mother, Mable Sands; her father, John Sands; and her siblings, Jasper Stevens, Ruth Sands, Elmira Chappelle and Johnny Sands in Heaven.
Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of: Ronald (Mack) Byam, her son, Derek Sands and his wife, Erica Sands; her son, Patrick Sands; her daughter, Patrice Byam and her fiancé, Oumar Legelege; her grandchildren, Mckenzie Penelope Sands and Mason Camraj Johnson; her siblings, Patricia Elaine, Barry Sands, Eric Sands, Tanya Sands; as well as a host of nieces, nephews and friends.