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In Memory of Sandra Whalen

Celebration of Life Service

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday February 8, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016

Gathering of Family and Friends

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Saturday February 8, 2020
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016

Sandra Ann Whalen (Hutches), 52, of North Hudson, died January 24, 2020 at home with her husband Shawn by her side, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Sandy was born October 15, 1967 in Sturgis, SD to Robert and Mary Hutches. She graduated from Sturgis High School in 1985 and from SD State University, Brookings, in 1990 with majors in history and political science and a minor in journalism. At State she wrote a weekly column for the student newspaper and served on the homecoming committee and was a member of Young Republicans. She was married to Shawn M. Whalen in Brookings on August 15, 1992. They lived in Seattle, WA and in Edina, MN before moving to North Hudson in 2000. She served several times as Chief Election Judge in North Hudson and served two terms on the North Hudson Village Board. She covered the SD legislature for the Associated Press following college and served
eight years as the Assistant Director of Communications for the MN House of Representatives and five years as the Communications Assistant to the Majority Leader of the MN Senate. She and Shawn owned the Back to Books bookstore in Hudson from 2004 to 2007. Since 2013 she owned Hale Design providing communications and design services to business and especially to political campaigns. Sandy loved animals and helped the family yellow lab “Edgrrr” become certified by Therapy Dog International and worked with him at local hospitals. She also took him to the Hudson Library to serve as a Reading Buddy. She was an avid reader especially of history, and developed an extensive family genealogy.

 She was preceded in death by her parents and is survived by her husband Shawn; one sister, Debra Kerr (Jeff) of Springfield, MO, nieces Emily and Stephanie and nephew Brandon Kerr; two brothers, Roger Hutches (Stacy) of Lake Charles, LA, nephew Scott Nelson, Denver, CO; and Alan Hutches, Sarasota, FL, niece Olivia and nephew Lucas Hutches. In addition, she leaves behind her Whalen family, father and mother-in-law John and Peggy of
Brookings, SD, and sister-in-law Michelle Burditt (Garey) and nephews Jay and Kyle of Farmington, MN.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 at the O’Connell Funeral Home, 520 S. Eleventh Street, Hudson. Visitation will be from 2 to 3 pm with the Service from 3 to 4 pm. In lieu of flowers memorials should be directed to Therapy Dogs International or to the American Cancer Society. 

Arrangements were made by the O’Connell Family Funeral Homes.

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Sandra's Tribute Wall

Tributes (3):

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    • I first met Sandra while I worked with her at the MN Senate. She was always so kind and happy to help. She had a great sense of humor and made my day brighter. I am fortunate to have known Sandra and was truly saddened to here of her passing.

    • I had the opportunity to work with Sandra at the MN Senate. I will miss her. We would watch Edgar in his kennel from her computer while we’d work. We had goofy fun together.
      I will miss you my friend.

    • I’ve been lucky to call Sandy my friend for the passed 8 years or so. We shared laughs, music , meals , doggy play dates , road trips and many bonfires . I will always remember her intelligence and sense of humor . She and I shared a love and appreciation for Elizabeth Cook . One of Cook’s songs was. “Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Women “ . I play this song sometimes at my shows and I will dedicate it Sandy from now on . Rest In Peace my friend , you sure had balls !