George, or “Junior,” our beloved dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, friend, and so much more to so many people, left us to harvest the crops he planted during his 85 years, on Sept. 10.
Visitation is on Thursday, Sept. 13, from 5 – 9 p.m. (prayer service and sharing at 7 p.m.), and Friday at 9 a.m. at the Williams Dingmann Family Family Funeral Home, Stein Chapel in Long Prairie. The funeral service is at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Long Prairie.
Born Mark George Sandy on February 2, 1927, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, George was the oldest of 16 children. Early on he was nicknamed “Junior” to carry on the family name. Later in life, Junior often said that he helped raise two families. He grew up near St. Cloud, helping on the family farm and graduating from Technical High School in 1945. After his family moved to Long Prairie, Junior spent some time in Montana working on ranches with his brother Virgil.
Junior served in the U.S. Army and had basic training in the 10th Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1953. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, with the 91st Armored Field Artillery Battalion until receiving an Honorable Discharge in June 1955.
Junior met his future bride, Noreen Roman, at Knotty Pine Ballroom, and they were married November 27, 1957, at St. Peter’s Church in Browerville, Minnesota. They settled for a short time on a farm near Long Prairie, fondly called “Honeymoon Hill,” while Junior worked at Starry Construction for more than a decade. Junior and Noreen eventually settled long term on the current family farm northwest of Long Prairie. As his dad before him cultivated the soil for all its goodness, so did George Jr. and Noreen, creating a home for more than 40 years on their dairy farm. When asked recently about the most courageous thing he had done in his life, Junior answered, “Having eleven children and raising his family”.
Aside from farming, Junior served on the St. Mary Parish Council in Long Prairie, and was an active member in the church. He also served on the Burleene Township Board for many years, and was active in politics.
For Junior and Noreen, farming was not a job, but a way of life. Junior loved to hunt with family and friends, and also drive the gravel roads in Todd County, looking at crops or stopping to have a brandy, or a good political debate, with family and friends along the way.
Survivors include children: George III (Faye Hallberg), Lynnette (Dan Pachan), Tamasine Sandy (Al Lahr), Mary (Duane Kautz), Andrew (Kim Kramer), Joan (Lance Jensen), Peter (Amy Plante), Teresa (Andrew Westrich), Ann (Jeff March), Amy (Tom Skarka), 28 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, siblings: Katherine (Eugene Connor – deceased), Coris (Glen Langbehn), Willinaette (Duane Spychalla), Delano (Agnes), John Henry (Rita) and Myrn (Dwight Hillmer).
Preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Noreen (Roman), daughter Geralyn, grandson Brett Pachan, parents George Sr. and Irene (Wruck) Sandy and siblings: Ronaine, Virgil, Weltha, Miles, Milesine, a baby boy, twin babies and Joyce Patrick.