Charlene, 86, died peacefully at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Rushford, Minn., on Saturday, December 2, 2023.
Charlene was born at home in rural Peterson, Minn., on May 17, 1937, to Bernhard “Ben” and Karina (Bremmer) Sande. She was the fourth of six children. She attended school in Peterson and graduated in 1955. She played French horn and baritone in the high school band; she was chosen for Girl’s State and was excellent with shorthand and secretarial skills. She could type accurately at lightning speed. Charlene and her family were very active members of Arendahl Lutheran Church.
Charlene, who grew up on North Prairie, and Gerhard “Gerry” Hegland, who grew up on South Prairie, met in the valley while at band practice during high school. Charlene and Gerry were married on May 25, 1957, at Arendahl Lutheran Church after a rain storm with a rainbow shining as Chalene walked down the aisle. After briefly living in Rochester and Peterson, they purchased a farm and lived in rural Utica from 1965-2005. In 2005 they moved to St. Charles.
Charlene was an active member of WELCA and Circles at church. She was the church organist and pianist for 63 years. Her children, Joleen and Jim, went to sleep every night listening to their mother practice the organ and piano. Charlene was secretary of the WELCA Conference and Saratoga Township Treasurer for 10 years. She enjoyed music, baking, and sewing. She loved Kool Aid, hot dish of every kind, cranberry relish, and every imaginable dessert that could be made with Jell-O.
Out of high school, Charlene worked as the private secretary to the director of the Mayo Foundation. After marriage, she worked for Jack Dorie, CPA and North Star Foods, both in St. Charles. Her primary vocation was to always be wife to her loving husband and mother to her kids.
Charlene was well known for being very organized and financially thrifty. She was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and for being one of the five “Sande Sisters.” Charlene took great pride in preparing her children to be well-rounded and ready for adulthood. Charlene and Gerry did a tremendous job of demonstrating how to be and stay married through thick and thin for 66 years. Her children are eternally grateful for the wonderful example of how to live a loving and Godly life.
Charlene is survived by her husband Gerhard, children Joleen Hegland Mainz of Rochester, Minn., and James (Tanja) Hegland of Rochester, Minn.; grandchildren Erik Mainz, Elliot Mainz, Anna Maxon, Peter Hegland, Laura Heier, Sarah Hegland, Andrew Hegland and Joseph Hegland; great-grandchildren Leo Maxon, Kara Maxon, Keegan Maxon, Isla Maxon, Logan Heier, Colette Heier and Damian Heier; and sister, Olive Ann (Karrol) Boyum and Winifred (Carroll) Johnson.
Charlene was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Dolores Sande and Bernice Hanson, brother Wesley Sande, and son-in-law Paul Mainz.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, December 9, 2023, at St. Charles Bible Church, 631 West 6th Street, St. Charles, Minn., with the Reverend Doug Hedman of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating. A reception will follow, with burial in Arendahl Lutheran Cemetery in rural Peterson. Visitation will begin at 9 am. Saturday at the church. Hoff Funeral Service of St. Charles is assisting the family with arrangements. www.hofffuneral.com
The family would like to thank all the caregivers that lovingly cared for Charlene/mom over the years… Home Instead, Chosen Valley Care Center, the doctors and Palliative Care team at Gundersen Lutheran, St. Croix Hospice, and Good Shepherd Lutheran Home; and the family and friends that visited mom. Blessings to you all.
Memorials in lieu of flowers are preferred to Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Rushford or Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Charles.