April 26, 2023 at 5:42 p.m.
Sandra “Sandy” Olson, 85, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, April 15, 2023, at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, Minnesota. Sandy was a long-time resident of Winona and had lived at The Waters in White Bear Lake since October 2020.
Sandy was born on Oct. 23, 1937, in Fairfield, Iowa, to Donald and Eloise (Graham) Githens. Sandy was an only child, and she was the pride and joy of her parents. The family lived in Iowa, Montana and Colorado, where Sandy graduated from Longmont High School in 1955. Sandy earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State, her master’s degree from Arizona State and her Doctorate degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She had a sharp mind and highly valued education and learning.
While at Arizona State, Sandy met and quickly fell in love with Frederick “Fred” Olson. They were married Aug. 8, 1964, and were married nearly 52 years when Fred passed in 2017. During their many years in Winona, Sandy and Fred built several important friendships. Their home was always welcoming. They entertained often and loved spending time with their kids and their kids’ friends. Sandy taught mathematics at Winona State University from 1965 to 1993. Teaching was her passion, and she made a huge impact on so many students’ lives.
Sandy was known for her strength, quick wit and generosity. She was talented at knitting, sewing and crocheting. She was an avid bridge player and a great cook. Sandy and Fred purchased a lake home in Sauk Centre in 2000, and countless precious memories were made there with family and friends. Most important to Sandy was her family; her grandkids brought her so much joy.
Remaining to cherish her memory are her three children, Marty of Winona, Peggy (Jim) Pereda of Rogers and Jeri (Steve) Olson Eddicus of White Bear Lake; six grandchildren who loved their grandma dearly, Charlie, Amanda, AJ and Graham Pereda and Elaine and Bailey Eddicus; and close friends John and Amy Skolaski, and their girls, Rachel and Sarah.
Sandy was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.
A small, private gathering will be held to celebrate her life. Memorials will be used to purchase a memorial bench for the WSU campus.