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Sandra 'Sandy' Kay Dirksen, 71

New Hampton Tribune and Nashua Reporter - Staff Photo - Create Article

Sandra "Sandy" Kay Dirksen, age 71 of Ionia, passed Friday, September 2, 2022, at Linn Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Hampton.

The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton with Rev. Kevin Frey presiding. Interment will follow the service at New Hampton City Cemetery.

Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the church

Sandy’s life began on April 10, 1951, when Gerald and Vivian (Weigel) Heiselman welcomed their first daughter into the world. She had two older brothers, but as the oldest daughter, she helped her mother raise her seven younger siblings.

She attended New Hampton Community Schools and was a member of the Class of 1969, the first to graduate at the new New Hampton High School.

After graduating, Sandy moved to Rochester, Minnesota, where she worked as a certified nursing assistant at St. Mary's Hospital for two years. She then moved back to New Hampton and took a job at Sara Lee, where she worked from 1971 to 1976 before accepting a job at TriMark as an assembler and later took a position with the company writing instructions. She remained at the New Hampton manufacturer for 37 years before retiring in 2013.

It was at TriMark where she met Dan Dirksen, and the two hit it off, started dating, and were married on Sept. 8, 1979, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua.

They raised five children — Darwin, Sara, Dawn, Jon, and Brian — who will always remember their mom’s marigolds that surrounded their rural home, not to mention the weeding of those flower beds they had to do! Sandy loved going camping and heading to the “river,” and associating with all their river rat friends where the family had their travel trailer in Blackhawk Park on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.

Sandy had a green thumb; in addition to her flower beds, she liked tending to her strawberry patches. She loved doing her word search puzzles and was known to buy a scratch ticket or two, once claiming a $30,000 prize,

But what she loved most was her family, and when the Dirksens and Heiselmans gathered, they had plenty of fun times, playing dice games and maybe having a beer or two.

Sandy had 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; she loved them with all of her heart and was proud of their accomplishments, and she may have spoiled them a time or two!

She and Dan were members of Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hampton.

At times, Sandy endured tragedies in her life — her oldest brother died serving our country in the Vietnam War, a son died in a car accident, and lost her youngest brother due to a terminal illness  — but she always persevered and we will all dearly miss her.

Sandy is survived by her husband Dan of Ionia, IA; two sons, Brian (Megan) Dirksen of Waverly, IA, Darwin (Liz) Dirksen of New Hampton, IA; two daughters, Sara (Jim) Rahlf of New Hampton, IA, Dawn Smith of New Hampton, IA; fifteen grandchildren, Bobby (Emma) Schwickerath, Ashley (Tim Moe) Schwickerath, Cody (Joanna) Schwickerath, Gracie Rahlf, Madison Rahlf, Kelly Rahlf, Dylan Rahlf, Kristen (David) Pitz, Morgan Smith, Lauren Smith, Haley (Tyler) Rosonke, Drew Dirksen, Lexi Dirksen, Abby Dirksen, Ethan Dirksen, Laney Dirksen; seven great-grandchildren, Nettie Schwickerath, Falon Schwickerath, Gavin Moe, Ashton Pitz, Brennen Pitz, Layton Pitz, Finnley Pitz; three brothers, Gene (Linda) Heiselman of Bellingham, WA, Dennis Heiselman of New Hampton, IA, Dan (Nancy) Heiselman of New Hampton, IA; four sisters, Judy (Hal) Kelleher of Nashua, IA, Pat (Russ) Dreckman of New Hampton, IA, Shirley (Steve) Glaser of Nashua, IA, Barb (Dave) Tank of New Hampton, IA; two sister-in-laws, Linda Heiselman of New Hampton, IA, Nancy Heiselman of Iowa; one brother-in-law Dave (Karen) Dirksen of Flagstaff, AZ.

She was preceded in death by her parents; one son, Jon; two brothers, John Heiselman and Duane Heiselman.

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