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Lee D. Sandager, age 94, died at his home in Marine on St. Croix with his wife Betty at his side on Monday, June 8, 2020. He had a long and productive life filled with a variety of experiences, dear friends and a loving family.
Lee was born on February 5, 1926 to Nels and Clara Sandager in the small southwest farming community of Hills, MN. He was 6th of 9 children and spent his early years helping on the family farm. After graduating from Hills High School he moved onto the University of Minnesota where he earned his B.S. and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Education. He was an active participant in social and academic activities on campus and while living at FarmHouse Fraternity he developed cherished lifelong relationships. Lee’s first teaching job took him to Climax, MN for 2 years and subsequently to Forest Lake where he spent the next 30 years teaching high school agriculture. He was an inspirational and innovative teacher who developed an outstanding FFA program. He was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame and selected by his peers as the MN Agricultural Instructor of the Year. Upon reviewing his life he recognized and often expressed one of his greatest satisfactions was following the lives and careers of his students.
His international work began when he was recruited by Columbia University to participate in a teacher training program in Kenya, East Africa. He and his family lived there for 2 years while he trained teachers and wrote agricultural curriculum for the Kenyan schools. This was the beginning of a 2nd career for him involving international agriculture work. For the next 8 years he was employed by Experience Incorporated, a Minneapolis based ag consulting firm, to manage agricultural projects worldwide before retiring. The following 10 years Lee did voluntary short term assignments for USAID in Eastern Europe and East Africa. Many of these travels included his close companion and wife, Betty.
Lee received many awards and commendations for his involvement in community and professional life. He was a lifelong, active member of the Lutheran church, recognized by the Elim congregation for his leadership to establish the successful Elim Foundation. Lee was honored as the Outstanding Senior Man of Washington County and selected among the U of M alumni for a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lee is survived by Betty, his wife and soulmate of 72 years, his sons Dan (Sandy), Rick (Lynn), Erik (Brigid) and daughter Patricia (Doug Thomas) and Sue. He leaves 10 grandsons and their wives along with 12 great grandchildren.
If desired friends may make memorial contributions to the Elim Foundation, Elim Church in Scandia MN.
A special thanks to Lakeview Hospice for their wonderful care.
A graveside service will be held for the immediate family and a Celebration of Life Service will be announced at a later date.
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