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Sandra Jo Crooks, 82

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Sandra Jo Crooks, age 82 of Ionia, died Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, at her home.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hampton, with Pastor Kevin Frey presiding.

The interment will be in Sunnyside Memory Gardens, rural Charles City.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday.

Online condolences for the Crooks family may be left at

Sandra Jo Crooks was born Aug. 19, 1941, in New Hampton, the daughter of Joseph and Zenovia (Babcock) Kelly.

Sandra’s early life in New Hampton was filled with learning and growth, culminating in her graduation from New Hampton High in 1959.

It was also in this nurturing community where Sandra’s heart found its match. She met Darrell Crooks on a double date at a skating party, an encounter that skated them smoothly into a lifelong partnership. The couple wed on June 13, 1959, at Trinity Lutheran Church, beginning a journey of love and companionship that would bless them with three children — Kendra, Durrell and Dennis.

In her early years, she worked diligently at Powells Variety Store, saving to buy a wedding ring for Darrell, a testament to her determination and commitment. She also helped on the family farm.

Sandra also served the children of her community for over 37 years as a school bus driver, retiring in a touching parallel with her mother Zenovia’s retirement from the same noble profession.

Furthermore, Sandra’s love for baking was shared with many through her time at the local bakery, where she worked alongside her daughter Kendra, creating sweet memories and sweeter treats. Her family and friends enjoyed the special cakes she made for them including wedding cakes. Her passion for making breads and pies was obvious by the way her lovingly fought over her treats.

The couple cherished their time together, whether they were fishing and boating, enjoying card parties, or traveling to picturesque destinations like Mexico, Alaska and Florida.

Sandra’s zest for life was infectious, and her smile was as warm as the sun on a clear day. Shopping trips with her mother and, in later years, with her grandchildren, were not merely errands but adventures that strengthened the bonds of family.

Those who know Sandra will remember her for her teasing ways, a playful spirit that brought laughter and happiness to any gathering. Her smile was a universal language that welcomed friends and strangers alike, turning the latter into the former with ease. Sandra was the epitome of friendliness and spirit, qualities that defined her and endeared her to all. Sandra’s journey was one marked by love and a spirit that uplifted everyone she encountered.

Survivors include her husband, Darrell of Ionia; children, Kendra (Doug) Walker of Clear Lake, and Dennis (Kendra) Crooks of New Hampton; daughter-in-law, Sonya Crooks of Ionia; eight grandchildren, Justin Crooks, Brandon Crooks, Natasha Crooks, Jenna Crooks, Alysha Walker, Adam Walker, Shawn Crooks, and Kim Klohn; eight grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Durrell Crooks on Dec. 12, 2011; and her in-laws, Don (Rosella Marvin) Crooks.


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