Joseph (Joe) Thilman Sands Jr., known to many as ”Sonny” Sands, passed away Sunday, October 15, 2017 at the age of 92. Joe was born May 18, 1925 to Joseph Sr. and Tena (Tweet) Sands. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in Japan. In October 1948 he married June Lois Nyseth. He began working in the drywall business in 1948, eventually starting his own company, Sands Drywall. Joe officially retired in 2000. Sands Drywall remains in business having been run by his sons and now his grandsons. In 1957, the couple bought a farm in Pleasant Valley and started farming. A barn fire in 1971 ended the dairy operation, but his love of animals and working the land continued with a change to raising beef cattle. His faith was his foundation for life. As a life-long member of Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church, Joe served as usher, reader, custodian, on the building and call committees, sang in the choir and was on the church council multiple times. He also served on the school board for the Eleva-Strum School District. Joe was always very proud of his Norwegian heritage. He will be dearly missed by his four children and their spouses: Larry and Crystal Sands, Randy and Kay Sands, Karen and Neil Johnson and Kristine and Darrel Hanson. He is further survived by 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. One sister also survives Joann (Jim) Lehman as well as two aunts, Margaret Hazen and Doris Pearson. Several cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family members, friends and neighbors survive as well. Joe is now reunited with his wife and dance partner, June, who preceded him in death in 2005. His parents; brothers, Robert, LaVerne; a sister, Audrey and grand-daughter-in-law, Michelle, also preceded him in death. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 21, 2017, at Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church (W2450 Cty. Rd. WW) rural Eleva, with Rev. JonPaul Dragseth officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Military rites will be conducted by the Eleva American Legion and Strum VFW Posts. Friends and relatives may call from 4-7 p.m. Friday and one hour prior to services Saturday at the Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be designated to Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church in Joe’s memory or to the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Bell Choirs in Denmark, Wis.
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