Sandra J. Griswold, 63 | Hudson Star Observer
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Sandra J. Griswold, 63

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Sandra Jean Griswold (nee Kilbane) passed away the afternoon of Monday, May 12, from complications related to treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.

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She was born on Aug. 26, 1944, to James and Eleanor Kilbane at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

At her birth she had two older siblings, Denny and Pat. During her childhood she lived in St. Paul near Como Park and in Minnetonka. In 1957, at age 12 and to her delight, Sandy became an older sister to Jim III.

She graduated from Hopkins High School in 1962. During the summer months while living in Minnetonka, Sandy and family lived on Big Island on Lake Minnetonka. After graduating high school, Sandy attended Iowa State University and received degrees in English and home economics in 1967.

At Iowa State she met Gary Griswold and they were married Nov. 19, 1966.

Sandy worked as an English teacher while Gary attended graduate school at Purdue U. and later settled in Wilmington, Del., while Gary worked at DuPont and attended law school.

In 1970, Sandy and Gary had their first child, Galt, and in 1974 they had her second son, Cortland.

After moving in 1972 to the north St. Paul suburb of Shoreview, Sandy longed for a life near water again and her family eventually settled south of Hudson on the St. Croix River.

In Wisconsin, Sandy continued to help recent Hmong immigrant families settle in the Twin Cities area as well as began to volunteer her time in the Hudson School District. She and her family also became active members of the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson.

In the mid-'80s she began graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in counseling receiving her Master's degree in 1989. She was then a high school counselor in the Hudson School District and assisted in the development and expansion of the alternative school program and headed the alcohol and drug prevention program. Later she helped remodel the gifted and talented program.

After retiring from the Hudson School District in 1997, Sandy continued her service to the Hudson community through her work with Community Action, where she started the SMART (Students Making a Right Turn) program, matching mentors to at-risk teenagers. She was honored with an Outstanding Volunteer Award from Community Action for her work on SMART.

She also became involved in Rotary, heading the Peace and Conflict Management Program. At the Presbyterian Church she was a leader in conflict resolution and developed the Family Resource Center. She was part of the Artistic Council of SOS Players.

Most recently, Sandy completed certification in mediation from Hamline University and was working toward her dream of developing a mediation center in the St. Croix River Valley. She was also very proud of her role as a board member of the Phipps Foundation and being on the selection committee of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In 2003, she became a grandmother to Arlen and mostly recently to Hal in 2007.

Words cannot describe how proud we were of Sandy. She sought to help others make the most out of their lives and strengthen families either directly one at a time, or by establishing and implementing programs for that purpose.

She is survived by her parents, siblings, husband, children and grandchildren.

A funeral service for Sandy was Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1500 Vine St.

Visitation was Friday, May 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Hudson, 1901 Vine St., and one hour prior to the funeral service at St. Patrick's.

Interment was private.

Sandy would have preferred memorials be made to the Hudson Area Library Foundation or the First Presbyterian Church Labyrinth Garden.

Arrangements were entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson.

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