Jim Sandness


James “Jim” Harold Sandness, 76, of Woonsocket, passed away on Sept. 17, 2022, at his home, unexpectedly. 

Jim was born on Oct. 28, 1946, in Mitchell, to Evelyn (Jarding) Hjelm and Harold Sandness. He was raised on a farm south of Woonsocket in the Twin Lakes Area, the eldest sibling to four brothers and two sisters. At a young age, his father, Harold, passed away, and his mother remarried Duane Hjelm. Jim went to country school and completed his education in Woonsocket. After high school, he joined the United States National Guard. Jim met Mary K. Goebel, of Faulkton, in Mitchell at a corner pizza parlor. They were married on May 2, 1970, in the St. Wilfrid parish in Woonsocket. 

Jim’s interests and hobbies were family and farming. Jim and Mary purchased a farm south of Woonsocket, calling it Hilltop Dairy. His dairy operation consisted of a 125-cow herd from 1971-1989. His humble beginning of a five-stall grew to a ten-stall automatic parlor. Many memories were created with weekend gatherings and family fun. A highlight to wrap up the summer was always hauling the camper to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron. 

After semi retiring, Jim’s farm was still his sanctuary caring for all kinds of livestock. He looked forward to hosting the out-of-state hunters during pheasant season that developed into long lasting friendships over the past 25 years. In his daily routine, he could be found zipping around the farm in his tractor or ATV checking that season’s crop with his furry friend, Putter. Planting his annual pumpkin patch and watching them grow gave him lots of joy.

Jim was active in the local community, serving on the Woonsocket School Board, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, St. Wilfrid Church Choir, Twin Lake township board, and as a High School CCD mentor and 4-H Volunteer. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; five children, Jen (Gary) Sandness of Rapid City, Amy (James) Hook of Griswold, Iowa, Steve (Amber) Sandness of Chester, Anne Sandness of Mt. Vernon, and Joe (Anna) Sandness of Rapid City; 11 grandchildren; his siblings, Bill (Deanna) Sandness of Sioux Falls, Evelyn Johnson of Sioux Falls, Mary (Randy) Schabot of Woonsocket, and David (Connie) Hjelm of Woonsocket; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Sandness of Sioux Falls and Agnes Goebel of Huron; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by his infant son, Thomas Richard; his parents, Harold Sandness and Evelyn Hjelm; in-laws, Raymond and Kathleen Goebel; brothers, John and Ted Sandness; stepfather, Duane Hjelm; and brother-in-law, Jim Goebel.

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