Sande was born in Manitowoc, WI, and raised by her maternal grandparents in Two Rivers, WI (more on her grandparents in Sande’s words below). Following high school in Two Rivers, she attended UW Stevens Point. After two years Sande returned to Manitowoc and took on what she called, “my favorite job,” riding a motor scooter and working as a home health aide in surrounding rural areas. It was her supervisor who encouraged her to apply to nursing school. She graduated from UW Oshkosh as a registered nurse with a four-year degree. After graduation, she worked in the psychiatric unit of St. Elizabeth Hospital (Appleton) for five years before joining the office staff of Dr. Allan Belden. She also attended and graduated from Blue Sky Massage School in Milwaukee, WI.
After retiring from full-time work, she continued to serve as a home health RN for disabled members of the community. She also worked as a freelance massage therapist and an exercise instructor at New London (WI) Park and Rec Department. She was enjoying Kundalini yoga training in Madison when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She couldn’t finish the training, but did use the tools of meditation she learned.
And now here are her words:
I have written this obituary as a goodbye to all those I have loved and who have loved me. I want to be remembered for my generosity and love. I do have faith that some were touched by my attempt to help others.
I am survived by my uncle Larry Shoulak (Kathy) of Larrabie, WI, and my aunt Marie Bowanowski of High Spire, PA. I am survived by my beloved niece, Holly (Dave) Adams of McFarland, WI, and my number one and only nephew Michael (Katie) Krizek of Two Rivers, WI. I thought of Holly and Michael as my own kids and tried to be there for them when I could. They know how much I love them.
I sadly leave behind my constant companion and true love, Dr. Allan (Bud, Luke) Belden, New London, and his children: Todd (Tanya Falbel) of Madison, WI; Tighe Belden (Judith Graile), currently living in a van down by the river, Manitoba; Kevin Belden (Andy Zinn) of Boulder, CO; Stuart Belden (Gretchen le van Mandekor) of Portland OR.
I had four grandchildren the easy way, inheriting them when I was connected with Luke: Mackenzie Belden – daughter of Kevin, residing in Denver, CO; Sophia Belden – daughter of Tighe, living in Rome, Italy; Minga and Bibi Mandekor in Portland, OR – daughters of Stuart Belden and Gretchen Mandekor.
I also sadly leave behind Luke’s sister and brother-in-law Margaret and Carlyle Mason, Appleton, their daughter Meredith, Nathan Birkholz, and their sons, William and Isadore, two bright lights of my life. Oh, what fun I had with the little boys. I think the reason I was able to go on as long as I did is because they came into my life.
I am also survived by my aunt Dorothy Gintner of White Law, WI, special cousins, Sue Allen of Manitowoc and Randy Rutten (who found his birth family in 2013), as well as numerous cousins from both the Krizek and Shoulak sides of the family.
Last and as important as all the rest are my beloved friends. I want to remember my Two Rivers friends, Sandy Komorowski, Terri Bellonger, Debra Knutsen and my life-long, supportive friend Jeanne LaForce, now of Plum City,WI. In college, I met Edna Montgomery Kelly of Oshkosh. We both wore short hair during those years and were immediate pals drawn together by our hair styles. She has remained a close friend and was always there when I needed her. Luke and I have been especially touched by the support of neighbors and close friends, Sara and Howard Volz of New London; the Hartfiels of Fremont; Kim and Nic Dasovich of Skokie, IL.
My maternal grandparents stepped up and took my brother Donnie and me in and raised us as their own after the death of my mother, Louella, in childbirth when I was 4 and he was 2. Emil and Lorraine Shoulak were saints on earth. They sacrificed for us and gave us safety and love.
My father, Frank, did the best he could for Donnie and me after the death of my mom, but he had his own significant challenges that led to his early death in 1983. I was raised with Uncle Larry and Aunt Marie, so they were like siblings to me. They made it possible for us to enjoy a family life. I praise and thank them.
I also remember my paternal grandparents Frank and Emma Krizek. Memories of them on the family farm were precious. We gathered often during my childhood with extended family. The adults played Sheepshead and the kids got into mischief, such as jumping on, and occasionally breaking, a bed in the large upper story of the farmhouse. We had fun with our Michigan cousins Bob and Tom Reichardt. My aunt Dorothy and uncle Richard had four kids and they were also involved in the shenanigans.
Writing this has reminded me what a great life I have had. -sande
Sande was a poet and a potter. She loved animals, birds, art, traveling, biking, hiking, cross-country skiing (fast), and dancing for hours to hers and Luke’s favorite bands. She created her own cards and knit many afghans for friends. She journaled every day and ran a marathon in her 50’s.
“Be kind,” is what Sande often said as friends and family separated. “Kindness,” as one friend said, “was her middle name.”
The kindness of the Neuro-ICU staff at St. Luke’s hospital, Milwaukee, and Cherry Meadows hospice, Appleton, is greatly appreciated by Sande’s family and friends.
For all of us, and there are many, who love and are grateful for Sande and the life she led, there will be a celebration at a later date, to be announced on Caring Bridge. (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sandekrizek).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any gifts or donations be sent to the charity of your choice.