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Obituary for Sandra "Sandy" Brieske

Celebrating the life of Sandra Ellen Brieske March 26, 1939 - May 22, 2022 ~ Sandra “Sandy” Ellen (Niebeling) Brieske, 83 , died peacefully on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at Lakeview Health Center in West Salem, WI with her devoted husband at her side. She was born March 26, 1939 in La Crosse, WI to George H. and Laura (Olson) Niebeling. She was the 3rd child born in the family and was a complete surprise to her 8 and 10 year old sisters, who had no idea that their mother was expecting a baby. Sandy grew up in La Crosse, graduating from Central High School in 1957. Following graduation, she moved to Chicago, IL. She worked at The Sears Tower for a short time, then attended Moody Bible Institute, graduating in 1963. During that time she met the love of her life, Russell Benjamin Brieske, of La Crosse, at the La Crosse Interstate Fair. While on leave from the US Navy he would visit her at Moody and was required to keep a distance of at least 2 feet from her. On July 18, 1964 the couple wed at St Wenceslaus Church, in La Crosse. They lived in La Crosse for a short time and she worked at Gundersen Clinic. They then moved to Nashua, NH, where their first child was born, followed by Sioux Falls, SD where they were blessed with a second child. They then returned to their roots, to raise their children with family and friends close by, in the place they called home, La Crosse. They settled into their permanent home on La Crosse’s southside. After a few years, she began working at The Family Practice Clinic, Mayo Health System. She worked there for 27 years, from 1977 to 2004. Following her retirement, they then began to ‘gallivant’. They enjoyed traveling throughout the southeastern states. She enjoyed the simple pleasures of walking on the beach collecting shells or just sitting in the sun. What she loved the most was dancing. She loved music and would dance with anyone or by herself, but she preferred to glide gracefully across the dance floor in the arms of her husband. They could be seen at many places around the La Crosse area. Many didn’t know them by name, but remember seeing them dance. A song that they enjoyed and represented their deep love for each other was ‘Keeper Of The Stars” by Tracy Byrd. Sandy was a woman with strong faith, with a love of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He now has the most beautiful dancing angel. Left to remember her love and honor her memory are her husband, Russell Brieske; her children, Suzanne Nolop of La Crescent, MN, and Garrett Brieske of La Crosse; her grandchildren, Bryce, Camdan, and Bria Nolop; her nephew Darrin (Brenda) Schmidt, nieces, Barb (Sonny) Rivera, Jody Brieske, and Kathy (Dan) Gustafson: as well as her friend of over 70 years, Beverly Owen. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She is preceded in death by her parents, her sisters and their husbands, Demetria ‘Mimi’ and Ernie Jordie, LaVonne ‘Vonnie’ and Dale Schmidt, niece and nephews; Jeanine (Jordie) Reilly, Jeffrey Jordie, Bryan Schmidt, as well as her husband’s parents, Jerry and Louise (Jung) Brieske and brother, David Brieske. A Celebration of her beautiful life will be held Friday, June 17 from 4-8 PM at The La Crescent Area Event Center. If you can attend, please consider enjoying a dance or two, in honor of Sandra. Memorials can be made to The Coulee Region Giving Hearts Choir. A non-profit group for those in the early to mid stages of memory loss and their caregivers to come together and share a love of music. Thank you to the wonderful, caring people that touched Sandy’s life. The SPARKS Program at MMAM in Winona MN, OASIS Respite Program, La Crosse County ADRC, the staff at Lakeview Health Center, as well as the physicians and many caregivers that supported her. ‘Love is how you stay alive, even after you’re gone’. -Mitch Albom