Sandra Rieck

Surrounded by her children, Sandra Kay Lohner Rieck gracefully ascended into heaven at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, May 30.  Sandra was born on November 8, 1937 in Sioux City, Iowa to Donald and Mary Lohner.  After graduating from high school in Sioux City in 1955, she attended the University of Iowa graduating in 1959.

An excellent student, Sandra was also a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority.  Sandra was an athletic young woman, and she was a cheerleader for the University of Iowa.  In addition, Sandra was the host of a University radio show, where she was charged with interviewing the likes of Ruth Evashevski, wife of Forest Evashevski, the U of I football coach.  She was also elected Miss State University of Iowa, representing the Big 10 in the 1957 Rose Bowl Parade.  On June 17, 1958, she married Donald Allan Rieck.  While living in Iowa City, Iowa, Sandra worked while Allan finished dental school, and upon his graduation they moved to Waseca, Minnesota, where she spent her time helping Rieck begin his dental practice and establishing herself as an elementary school teacher for the Waseca School System. Sandra Sandra left teaching in order to raise three children, and when her children were older, she earned her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Pre-school Education.  Sandra was acutely aware of the importance of early childhood education, and, along with Darla Vilt and Carol Converse, founded Hansel and Gretel Nursery School.  During her time in Waseca.  Sandra both managed and taught at the school.  Hansel and Gretel Preschool was innovative in that it coupled the most progressive aspects of the Montessori philosophy with traditional best practice enabling students to truly reach their potential. Eternally passionate about education, Sandra worked for both the New Richland and the Waseca School Districts and was the author of two children’s books.   

Though a consummate professional, Sandra immersed herself in the sorts of passions that gave her life meaning:  raising her children, ensuring the safety and well-being of her family, and volunteering for her community. She married her love for her children with her care for the community, volunteering as a Girl Scout leader, a Boy Scout leader, and a Faith United Methodist youth religion teacher.  Sandra also founded and coached the Girl Scout Dolphins, the community’s first synchronized swim club.  

Sandra was athletic; she was a former Club Champion at Lakeside, and she was a consistent competitor for Lakeside in a number of Bean Jar Tournaments. She was a woman who possessed an incredible sense of humor; the limitations of her singing voice did not prevent her from singing loudly and proudly; the fact that she no longer drove did not inhibit her ability to ride “shotgun,” offering meaningful instruction for whomever had his hands on the wheel, and she embraced her tendency to laugh wholeheartedly at her own jokes.  She was an extraordinary grandmother, taking great pride in the hard work of her children and grandchildren, celebrating all milestones in extraordinary ways.      

A two-time cancer survivor and a woman who lived with MS for 30 years, Sandra possessed a tenacity that endeared her to others, and she set an example as to how to “fight the good fight.”   Her kindness of heart and her strength of character will serve as an example to her children and grandchildren—a study in true and genuine goodness.  Sandra possessed a quick wit and a generous heart, and those who knew her best, understood deeply her dedication to them.   Sandra remained the consummate mother and grandmother to the end.  Sandra was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Mary Lohner, and by her husband, Dr. Donald Allan Rieck.  She is survived by her children Lori (Roger) Stippel, Donald Corey Rieck (Lynn), and Andrew (Trish) Rieck.  Sandra is also survived by her four grandchildren Taylor and Morgan Stippel and Jackson and Ryan Rieck.   

Visitation will be from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14 with a service to follow beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waseca, MN.



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