Sandra Kay Hendrickson Gryting, 71, died in Phoenix, Ariz., with her family by her side in the early morning hours of October 27, 2012, after a massive stroke.
Sandy was born September 18, 1941 in Lime Springs, Iowa, to Abner and Olivia Vik Hendrickson. She graduated from Cresco High School and earned a B.A. in sociology (cum laude) from St. Olaf College, where she met her future husband, Robin Gryting.
She and Robin were married June 8, 1963, in Minneapolis and lived in Shenandoah National Park, Va., and Islamorada, Fla., before settling down in Belview to start a family.
They had two daughters (Kelly and Randi), then moved to St. Paul where Sandy tended to the girls, and Robin completed his master’s degree. In 1967, she and Robin moved to Chicago, Ill., where they had another daughter (Terry), then it was on to St. Louis, Mo, in 1970, where a son (Troy) was born.
The four kids kept Sandy busy for several years, as she enjoyed making their house a loving home. After the family of six moved to Kendall Park, N.J., in 1973, she entered the workforce as a Montessori preschool teacher.
Following another move to Charleston, W.V., in 1976, Sandy worked as a travel agent and used her benefits to start showing her kids the world.
In 1980, the family moved back to Minnesota (Plymouth), where she continued to fulfill her life’s mission of helping people by earning her master’s degree in social work from the Alfred Adler Institute and working as a family counselor for six years. Sandy continued helping families as a career foster parent after another move to Kirksville, Mo. in 1989. Fifty-plus kids later, she retired from foster parenting in 2011 and she and Robin became “snowbirds,” purchasing a condo in Surprise, Ariz., where they could spend their winters.
Sandy was a genuinely kind and compassionate woman with a gentle soul and an open mind. Family was always her first priority, followed by a love of music and the beauty of nature. She was a voracious reader and loved traveling, learning about world cultures, solving problems, decorating a home, changing the world for the better, “adventures” with her grandchildren and advancing the status of women worldwide. She found joy in simple things – a gorgeous sunset, fresh raspberries, a front row parking spot – and had a consistently positive attitude, which continued even through life’s most challenging moments. Her legacy of integrity and strength will live on in those she loved, mothered, and mentored.
Sandy will be deeply missed by her loving husband of 49 years, Robin Gryting, her four children Kelly (Charles Gerlach), Randi (Kris Perry), Terry (Dan Lien, and Troy (Sophie Soumphonphakdy), her foster daughter Christina Mullen, her sister Carmen (Elden) Evans, her brother Roger (Anne) Hendrickson, her grandchildren Marit, Bailey and Mallory, Kelsey and Tucker and Hailey, Autumn, Ali and Arianna and many other loving family and friends.
Page 2 of 2 - Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Olivia and Abner Hendrickson.
Memorial celebrations were or will be held at three locations as follows: 1) Thursday, November 1, at her residence in Surprise, Ariz. 2) Wednesday, November 7 from 3-5:30 p.m. at her home in Kirksville, Mo. 3) Sunday, November 11 from 1-4 p.m. at the Odeon Hall in Belview. Her remains will be buried at Belview Cemetery.
Memorials are not expected, but those who wish may want to know Sandy was supporting “Foster Families of Adair County, Inc.” c/o Sheila Jones, 22888 Buck Creek Rd. Greentop, MO 63546 and the “Education for All” fund of Plan USA. www.PlanUSA.org/HowtoHelp 1-800-556-7918