Photography

Sylvia Sandvig

March 5, 1938 ~ July 13, 2022 (age 84)

Obituary

Sylvia Sandvig, age 84, of Woodville, Wisconsin, passed peacefully Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at Park View Home in Woodville.

Visitation will be on Saturday, August 13, 2022, from 12:30-2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Woodville, in the fellowship hall.  A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran with a luncheon and time of fellowship following the service until 4 p.m.

   Obituary: Sylvia Joan Sandvig By Zachariah Walker I can’t remember a single day with my grandma Sylvia where we didn’t laugh together. I can’t remember her kitchen counter ever being without perfectly sliced mild colby and crackers. I can’t remember her arms ever failing to wrap all the way around me when we hugged. I can’t remember ever leaving her house without feeling warmer than when I arrived. There’s so much I do remember, though. So much we all remember. So many conversations and bits of wisdom and perfectly wrapped Christmas gifts and warm apple pies and hands of cribbage and delicately embroidered cloths and guessing games on Easter and the way she said hello that just made everything feel magical for a moment. All of this she gave to us. We thank God that she did.

   On July 13, 2022, Sylvia Joan Sandvig traded a blue and white patterned gown for pair of wings so white you’d think she washed them herself. She spent her final moments in the Park View Nursing Home room next to the one her husband Tim spent his in six months prior. On the windowsill beside her bed sat a small framed photo of the two of them as 20-somethings, holding each other below the skyscrapers in the falling Saint Paul snow. The frame read, “Forever and always. That’s how long I’ll love you.” After 64 years together and an eternity to go, she’s proving the frame right.

  Even before she married Tim, she was loving forever and always. She was born Sylvia Joan Albrightson on March 5, 1938 in her parents’ farmhouse in Woodville, WI, and as a girl, she loved that town. She loved the barn where she would bale hay with her brothers and the driveway outside the house where the three of them would play imaginary trucks, even though Buz and Dave always got mad at her for shifting too many gears. She loved the girls she waterskied with on a nearby lake, all weaving and bobbing between each other through the wake. Woodville was home—the place she became the second ever Syttende Mai Queen and ran a root beer stand with her friends one summer that they would close down whenever they thought of something more fun to do. And it will always be home.

   For a while, home shifted for Sylvia. She met Timothy Charles Sandvig in grade school, started dating near the end of high school, and after a few squirrel hunts and hamburger dates, she was smitten. They were married on September 14, 1957 and soon after moved to Escondido, CA, where Tim was stationed with the Navy. They rented an apartment with a pomegrante tree in the backyard for $35 a month, and Sylvia painted a giant rooster across the yellow kitchen wall because she thought the space looked a little bare. After contemplating with Tim about buying a Chicken Delight franchise in Milwaukee, they opted instead to both enroll at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls and moved into a trailer home on campus, where they raised their first two children, Julie and Susan. A few years later, David was born, who she’d play games with every single time he asked, no matter what.

   She studied education at River Falls and went on to be a lot of 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders favorite teacher at St. Croix Central Elementary School. She’d wear belts around her waist and high heels on her feet, and some of the girls called her Mrs. High Heels. But it wasn’t her style the kids admired most. For one girl, who was blind, she would trace the lines of a coloring sheet with liquid glue and let it harden so the girl could feel where to color. For another, who came to class with messy hair, she lent the hairbrush she kept in her desk for anyone to use. She wanted to serve, and that didn’t stop after the final bell rang.

   At home, she raised a family. Julie, Susan, and David joined Tim in enjoying her pot roasts and fresh baked bread. She would make lefse and krumkake on Christmas, and she always made sure to slick up her lutefisk like a good Norwegian should. She’d let her girls use the kitchen, too. They’d clutter up the counters and dirty the dishes, but Sylvia didn’t mind. They were smiling and laughing and learning, and that’s all that mattered. If she wasn’t in the kitchen, you could probably find her outside, pounding fence poles in leather gloves and cutoff jean shorts, planting tomatoes and peas in the garden, or cleaning pool rocks through a homemade sieve with a smile. A lot of the time, you could find her where the music was, singing in the Zion Lutheran Church choir or playing gentle melodies on the piano at home. Or, of course, she could be fishing.

   She and Tim took any chance they could to be on the water. They reeled in silver salmon from Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska, fought 20-pound northern pike on Trout Lake in Ontario, and casted for redfish off South Padre Island during their snowbird summers in Texas. Tim practically dedicated himself to the sport, but Sylvia always caught the bigger fish, her biggest a 50-pound Lake Trout that still hangs in the basement of their last home on Highway BB just outside of Woodville. She tempted panfish with nightcrawlers off their dock in Chippewa Falls, just outside the living room where she’d read to her grandchildren as they fell asleep on cots during weekend sleepovers. But at the family cabin on Trego Lake those last few years, she didn’t fish much at all. She was content just sitting by the water, watching everyone else enjoy themselves.

   That’s where I imagine my grandma when I think of her now. Relaxing at the cabin, surrounded by her family. She’s smiling, which quickly turns to a laugh. Now everyone’s laughing. Happy. Content to be existing there for a while with her, the funniest, kindest, most joyful spirit any of us have ever had the privilege to hold close. A few months ago, when we thought she still might be able to make it up there, my aunt Julie asked her what she was most looking forward to about being up at the cabin. She said she was excited to get up early in the morning to make coffee for everyone.

   I spent close to 50 nights at that cabin with my grandma. There wasn’t a single morning the coffee wasn’t hot. And by late afternoon, the pot would be empty. She had filled everyone’s cups, and we’re still enjoying every drop.

  Visitation will be on Saturday, August 13, 2022, from 12:30-2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Woodville, in the fellowship hall.  A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran with a luncheon and time of fellowship following the service until 4 p.m.

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Services

Luncheon and time of fellowship
Saturday
August 13, 2022

2:03 AM to 4:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church
221 Lockwood
Woodville, Wisconsin 54028

Visitation
Saturday
August 13, 2022

12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church
221 Lockwood
Woodville, Wisconsin 54028

Celebration of Life Service
Saturday
August 13, 2022

2:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church
221 Lockwood
Woodville, Wisconsin 54028

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