Sandra Joyce Kilbey

Sandra Joyce Kilbey

Sandra Joyce Kilbey {nee Fritz) left our earth for a better place on Sunday, September 17, 2023. She lived 84 years without regrets, knowing she was loved by God. Born on Christmas Eve in 1938 to Walter and Olive Fritz, she was the youngest of six children. Her love of family began in their modest home on North 34 th Street in Milwaukee where she would return many times throughout her life for family gatherings. Sandy was preceded in death by both parents and all five of her siblings. After graduating from George Washington High School, Sandy married her best friend’s (Helen West) brother, William (Bill) Kilbey. They started their family in 1959 while living in the downstairs apartment of Bill’s childhood home on North 33 rd Street. After a few years, and a few babies, they moved to a bigger home in the suburb of Brookfield where the family grew to six children. Aside from raising their children, she also enjoyed her work experience at JCPenney during this time.The Kilbeys loved the outdoors and camping so in 1969 Bill and Sandy bought 40 acres “up north” in Adams County where they enjoyed their weekends in the country at the place they named “Deadwood”. Eventually, they loaded up their truck and moved to Big Flats where they bought their first restaurant, Kilbey’s Kitchen. This became a true family business with everyone doing their fair share.

Sandy became a successful businesswoman/working mother in the seventies. She was ahead of her time in many ways. In the eighties, she went on to own or manage several more restaurants/bars in her career, including Rank’s Bar in Adams and Midway on Hwy 13 in Big Flats. Sandy was well known in the area for her kind, fair, and friendly ways. Everyone loves Sandy! Her final entrepreneurial success came about with the purchase of Wood Lake Resort near Westfield in 1990. Sandy employed wonderful workers who were loyal and devoted to her. She inspired them to be the best people they could be. For many years she served the surrounding community with her famous Friday fish frys, great old fashioneds, and warm hospitality. Sandy retired and lived in a beautiful cabin she had built on Wood Lake. Many of her best friendships were the “lake people”. She worked tirelessly with the Wood Lake Association to keep their lake clean, beautiful, and a fun place to hang out with family and friends. Her many grandchildren were fortunate to grow up with many exciting Wood Lake memories.

After retiring from Wood Lake Resort, she took her love and passion for the restaurant/bar business to a new level by joining forces with the Tavern League of Wisconsin. She held County and State officer positions with the tavern league. She traveled around Wisconsin advocating for the rights of restaurant and bar owners. Her reputation for persistence precedes her. Sandy has always lived her life for others, and this was just another example of that. Sandy created a full life for herself which included a home in Florida for six months out of the year. She enjoyed her new Canadian friends and thrived in the Winter Garden community. For a while she continued to work after retiring, purchasing, and hauling her famous ice cream truck with her, back and forth between Wisconsin and Florida. Many of her grandchildren had their first jobs with Grandma, or at least some free ice cream while they worked! This move to Florida provided vacation spots for all her children and grandchildren. If she moved there hoping to “get away from the kids”, it did not work! Sandy continued her exciting and crazy adventures while traveling with family and friends. She knew how to have a good time!

Sandy considered her greatest accomplishment to be raising six children to successful adulthoods. Later in life you could often hear her bragging about how wonderful her children were and what greats things they were doing in the world. Eventually they raised her 21 beautiful grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren, and even a great, great grandchild who she was incredibly proud of. She sang “You Are My Sunshine” to hundreds, made vegetable beef soup for thousands, and touched the lives of millions. She will be dearly missed until we meet once again for more walnut slices, miller lites, and lots of love.

Sandy is survived by three caring daughters, Cindy, Linda, and Jenny (Jack), and two devoted sons, Bill Jr. (Lori), and Patrick (Jamie). Sadly, she lost a loving daughter, Wendy, in 2011 to a rare, incurable cancer. This was a sadness that stayed with her until her passing. We will celebrate Sandy’s grand life on Sunday, October 1 with visitation from 12:30 until 2:30 with a service to follow at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Westfield. All are invited to continue the celebration with a meal and cocktails at the infamous Wood Lake Resort at 3:30pm. We know she would love to see you there.

We would like to honor Immanuel Lutheran Church, the church Sandy attended for decades and loved with all her heart with all monetary donations.

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  1. Tom & Carol Vodde - Florida friends says:

    Rest in peace, Sandy. We appreciated your friendship, your kindness and your Euchre skills.

  2. Misty Roller says:

    Thank you Sandy for having opens arms and welcoming me into the Kilbey family with no hesitation. It was a pleasure to knowing you and I’ll never forget you and I’ll continue to listen to all the memories about you and pass them down to your great grand son Asher. I love you grams ❤️

  3. Laurie Hengen says:

    Sandy adopted me as one of her daughters while she was at MCC.You are no longer in pain if they have restaurants In Heaven You will make a wonderful critic ..Heaven gained a wonderful Angel if you run into my Jerry tell him I love him and when we meet again. We are going to have a miller light with you ..I am so grateful we got to meet..FLY HIGH….MOM

  4. Jodie Woodruff says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Many memories in the Kilby house, and restaurant – and your mom smiling and laughing at our shenanigans. What a legacy she has left for all of you. God Bless.

  5. Bob and Christine O'Bannon says:

    Christine and I want to extend our deepest sympathy to you, Lori, and the whole Kilbey family on the loss of your Mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. The announcement was so well written that we were able to know her better as we read about her great and kind life. May God bless the Kilbey family and replace your sadness of the loss of Sandy with happy memories of good times together.
    Bob and Christine O’Bannon

  6. Denise ShepherdOscar says:

    Sandy, I will miss you. You and Bill were the ones to remember from NBC Media Center, Universal Studios Florida. Robert and I loved you both dearly. Go with God….

  7. Fred Kilbey says:

    Her kindness and thought fullness towards others has been a beacon for me to follow y whole life. The way she cared for others especially in times of need. I have always been grateful for the support she showed my mom (Arlene) for so many years
    as well as others, was an example of compassion unequaled.
    ALL My Love to the family that I hold dear in my heart.
    God Bless

  8. Linda & Jim Ragatz says:

    So many great adventures we took together. Sandy was a class act and will me missed by many. Rest in peace my friend♡♡

  9. Glenys (Manthey) Elliott says:

    Jenny and family, so sorry to hear about your mom. I read her obituary twice. She sure lived a full life. I know you will always have great memories. Thinking of you all.

  10. Tiaan & Elize Jooste says:

    Our most sincere condolences to you all. May the happy memories comfort you during this sad time.

  11. Karen Murphy Rank says:

    Linda and family, I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. What a wonderful lady, always happy and smiling!!. I am sure my mom and her are sharing stories. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you

  12. Curtie & Michelle Pollex says:

    Pat, Jamie, Ryan, Shibaby, Kyle & the Kilbey family~I am so sorry for the loss of y’all’s Mom & Grandma. I met her once at your (Pat’s) college graduation party at Wood Lake Resort. ♥️

    I’m sure this will always mean the world to Pat, Jamie, family & especially Shibaby and Kyle, that she was at their wedding this June and said the Prayer before dinner. 🙏✝️🙏 I thought that was such a wonderful thing!! 🥰 What a beautiful memory to cherish of a beautiful person!! 😇

    Sending Prayers of Comfort, Much Love and “BIG” Hugs~As Shibaby calls me…Love you Always, Mama Pollex 😘

  13. George J Argianas says:

    A great and wonderful lady.So sad,but she now is in great place.I know she will be dearly miss.

  14. Lizanne Lacelle says:

    Sincere condolences and warm thoughts to the whole family. May all of your wonderful memories of this amazing lady carry you through this difficult time. She will be greatly missed by all.

  15. Patty Bula says:

    Your mom always had a smile for anyone who walked through the door… it was impossible not to be happy in her presence. May she rest in peace. Condolences to the entire Kilbey family.

  16. Penny says:

    So sorry for your loss.

  17. Karen Poage says:

    To my dear cousins and Kilbey extended family: We were all blessed to know your Mom. I think she was all of our “favorite” Aunt because her home was always FUN, warm & welcoming (although at times chaotic with the 6 of you running around!) We had so much fun as kids, didn’t we? My earliest memories involve Sandy. I remember when she would babysit me when Cindy was a baby & they lived at Grandma Kilbey’s place. She was always so kind. My mom & I brought her home from the hospital when Wendy was born. She was such a phenomenal Mother! She blessed me with the largest clan of cousins. Since my Dad was an only child, the only cousins I had were Kilbey’s!! You were all so lucky to have been raised & loved by such a warm & devoted soul. Never once did I ever see her angry, mad or sad. Her laughter and smile will live on in our memories & hearts forever. May those memories comfort you in this difficult time. Sending you all my love, Cousin Karen

  18. Lindsay Bublitz says:

    You will be missed Aunt Sandy. Many fond memories of you and Uncle Wally coming by granma and grandpa’s to visit when I was a child and getting to hear all of the stories.

  19. Marshall Bjorge says:

    Condolences and prayers to the Kilbey family and friends.

  20. Timothy D. Schmitt says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. She was a great lady and an even better friend!!! She will be greatly missed…. I will always cherish the memories of her and all her help with my bar and restaurant. I loved talking with her every chance i could… Pizza parties at the assisted living facility was great!!! She’s in a better place now=no more pain and suffering. She has a special place in my heart!!!

  21. Valerie Schroeder says:

    To my dear, dear friend. Until we meet again. I have so many memories. We had so much fun together. The shenanigans we got into. Laugh oh Sandy we sure had a good time together. We knew each other so well , we could finish each other’s sentences . I’m going to miss you, but thank you so much for all the good times and great memories. Love you

  22. Karen Christensen says:

    My condolences to Pat and the Kilbey family on your loss.

  23. Mary Maurer says:

    A beautiful and true tribute to Sandy, the best of the best. She really did touch the lives of millions; mine for sure in a positive, loving way. Kindness was her middle name. RIP dear dear Sandy and please give a hug to my parents for me, like you did here. 💖🙏

  24. Daniel Clay says:

    Sorry to hear Sandy passed on. She was a wonderful person. She is smiling down at all of us from heaven.

  25. Annie Richmond says:

    So sorry to hear of Sandy’s passing. Sandy was a great friend. I was fortunate to have her as a friend. She came into my life when I met her through my brother “Roundy”. We had many great times together. She even hosted my husband and myself for a weekend on the lake. Sandy was so loving and proud of her family, which I had the privilege to meet some. Kilby family, you have my deepest sympathies. Rest in peace Sandy. ❤️

  26. Nate Ellsworth says:

    Love you Grandma!!! We will miss you. I promise we will never forget you and I promise we will pass on your memory to anyone who will listen. Say hi to Mom for me!!!

    Miss you always and forever!!!

  27. Scott and Kelly says:

    So sorry Bill and Lori for your loss, your mother was amazing woman. Family and friends will miss her dearly. May God be with her now and with you and your family while you go through these times. Our condolences.

  28. Grace Silander says:

    So sorry to hear of Sandy’s passing. Sandy was such a special lady who was nothing but kind, caring, loving and had one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known. Heaven has gained an exception Angel.
    My sincere condolences to Sandy’s family. She will be missed dearly.

  29. Ray Bork says:

    What a lady! Sorry to Billy and family. You have to hold onto memories, and she created wonderful ones for anyone who met her. A grateful and giving woman for sure. She watched over us young boys, Billy’s buddies, with care but let us learn and grow. We did kind of??? She will be so missed by all of us!!
    RIP Sandra ❤️

  30. Babe Terry says:

    I am sorry to hear about your mom. She was like a mom to so many of us. God bless her, she is with her firecracker.

  31. Rena Lumby says:

    So sorry for the family’s loss. Sandy was one of a kind. I will always remember her smile that she wore everytime I saw her. She was a wonderful woman. She will b missed by so many.. RIP Sandy.

  32. June Buchanan Stine & Jim Weiland says:

    So very sorry for the loss of your mother. May your memories help you through this very difficult time. ❤️She will live in your heart forever.

  33. Wally Peterson says:

    RIP Sandy

  34. Wally Peterson says:

    So sorry for the family’s loss she was a good women and cook

  35. Diane Giessel Fletcher says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss but I someone who is so happy to see her in heaven, my mom and her great friend, Brownie!

  36. Tracy Kollaszar says:

    Kevin and I are very sorry for your loss.

  37. Terry L Hanson says:

    I am so sad to hear of Sandys Passing. She was such a great lady and I remember working for her at the Restaurant in Big flats when I was young. Say Hi to My Daddy and Mama for me~ RIP Great Lady!!~

  38. Bernie Soley Roggenbauer says:

    Cindy and all who loved Sandra,

    May the memories of your mom and the wonderful life she lived, wrap you up in love and comfort. She will live forever in your heart.

  39. Jan Baumgartner says:

    I will always remember your mom’s smile and laughter. She added joy for so many. My deepest condolences to you all.
    Hugs & Love

  40. Sharon Trzesniak says:

    To all of you, my deepest condolences. I am so sorry for your loss!

  41. Daryl Christensen says:

    Sandy was an amazing, caring woman. Sherry and I send our prayers and condolences for your family.

  42. Jodi Lecy Helgeson says:

    Cindy and family, I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. She sure had a full life! My sympathy to you all.

  43. Deb Timmons says:

    Hugs and prayers to all friends and family. Sandy was full of life. A wonderful person and friend. I enjoyed my visits with her at Woodlake. She will be greatly missed by soo many.

  44. Cindy Babcock says:

    Thoughts and prayers to the family, she was a very special person, We had a lot of great time. I will cherish all the memories. Hugs to all of you.

  45. Rick and Brianna Carlson says:

    Our condolences, I know she is having some drinks in heaven right now with some great friends that got there first.

  46. Pat,Rick, and Joshua Raught says:

    We are so sorry to hear of Sandy’s passing. She was one of the best friends we had in the bar business. We all had many happy tavern league memories and personal friendship for many years. She will be greatly missed.
    Pat, Rick, and Joshua Raught

  47. Pam Collins says:

    Thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this difficult time. Cherish the memories.