Tubby and Nuna Sandel

A Legacy of Higher Education
Tubby & Nuna Sandel passed on the value of education to their family

As teachers, Tubby and Nuna Sandel instilled in their children a value for higher education.

Both were alumni of Sam Houston State University. Tubby, who earned the nickname as a teenager and was always known by it, graduated in 1928. He was captain of the football team in 1926, and later named to the university's Hall of Honor. Nuna received her teaching certificate around the same time.

Tubby passed away in 1969, and after Nuna passed away in August 2003, the couple's son Joe and his wife Winnie decided it would be appropriate to endow a scholarship in their honor.

"College was very important to them," said Winnie. "They wanted each child to get a degree."

"We started thinking of something that we might do in their memory, and we thought that this would be something that they would like," Joe said.

The H.H. "Tubby" and Nuna Sandel Endowed Scholarship, first awarded this past spring, was designated for a graduate of any high school in Walker County.

The scholarship is for a fulltime incoming freshman student at SHSU and majoring in any discipline, though a preference will be given to students majoring in math or science, and who demonstrate a financial need.

Both Joe and Winnie grew up in the Huntsville area and graduated from Huntsville High School.

"We've got roots running deep here with a lot of family on both sides," Winnie said.

Those roots even run within the university itself. Joe attended SHSU then transferred to the University of Texas for his degree in petroleum engineering. Winnie received her degree in elementary education from SHSU.

Two of the couple's three children graduated from SHSU. A son-inlaw also received his degree from the university, and Joe's brother also graduated from SHSU.

Joe said his parents were big supporters of the university, something that has become a tradition for the Sandel family.

He and Winnie attend most of the athletic events and go on some of the SHSU golf team's trips with the team.

Joe owns an independent oil and gas production business, Sandel Energy, Inc., which he started in 1973. Now retired, his son runs the company.

The Sandels are active members of First United Methodist Church in Huntsville, where Joe has served as treasurer for many years and Winnie helped bring the women's and prayer ministries into the church. They also support the Walker County Fair Association and other youth-related organizations.

Like their church family, their extended family is important to them, a value passed down to them by Joe's parents.

"I think this (scholarship) is a nice heritage to leave for them," Winnie said. "They would be pleased with it. One thing that Joe's dad said was that he'd like to give a kid an education and then just sit back and see what they would do with themselves; he was that kind of guy."