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Obituary: Sandra "Sandy" Elizabeth (Kohl) Pederson

Sandra “Sandy” Elizabeth (Kohl) Pederson passed away peacefully with family by her side Feb. 28, 2022, at the age of 75. She died of Covid-19 complications secondary to chemotherapy following a long, valiant battle with leukemia and lymphoma.

Sandy was born Feb. 28, 1947, in Pittsburgh to Charlie and Thressa Dale Sutton Kohl. She graduated from Midland High School, Michigan, in 1965. While Sandy held numerous jobs over the years, she was a highly compassionate, creative, and free-spirited person. She proudly wore the badge of “hippie” for many years, even moving from Chicago to Meadowlands to become a farmer during the back-to-the-land movement. Throughout this time, her love of creating art and making music punctuated different ups and downs of her life.

In 1981, Sandy entered sobriety and on Feb. 14, 2022, celebrated her 41st year of sobriety. Mom was a proud board member of the Cloquet Alano Club and sponsored numerous people throughout her life. The recovery community was her second, chosen family. She worked her program all the way to the end, with her Big Book by her side.

Sandy earned her Master of Fine Arts in 2005 and from there, moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to teach women art and graphic design at Dar Al-Hekma University. She taught there for several years and was inspired by the women and culture. Long before her passing, Sandy could often be quoted as saying “when I was in Saudi .…”

The beneficiaries of Sandy’s deepest love and affection were her sister, Gretchen, and children, Jensina and Jacob. Her creativity and imagination inspired playfulness and silliness in her family, especially her children and grandchildren. Her sense of humor, laughter, and joy were bright lights in even the darkest of times, sustaining those around her. She loved good food (including baked potato soup and anything involving peanut butter), gardening, creating art, being with friends, Scrabble Sundays with her kids, enjoying pool with her sister, playing mini golf and Uno, all types of music, and reading. She will be remembered as a loyal, generous friend, devoted sister, deeply spiritual person, published author, social justice advocate, an educator, a strong woman, the most kind and loving person on the planet, the toughest cookie, and of course, the best mom ever. There really are not enough words to express the impact she’s made on those around her and the depth of love so many had for her. She will be profoundly missed.

Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Thressa Dale Sutton Kohl. She is survived by her sister, Gretchen (Angelo) Kohl; daughter, Jensina Rosen (Tyler); son, Jacob Pederson; grandchildren, Lilyana and Aidan; granddogs Odin and Luna; partner in crime, Monty; and numerous friends from around the world.

The family would like to thank the Essentia Health oncology team, especially Dr. Bret Friday, for excellent care resulting in two extra years with her. The family would also like to thank the St. Mary’s Medical Center 8E medical team, as well as all the nurses who helped set up Zoom calls or hold her phone so she could talk with family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Doctors Without Borders.

A Celebration of Life for Sandy will be held 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, March 4 with eulogies and a time of sharing at 11 a.m. at Nelson Funeral Care, Cloquet. To leave an online condolence, visit http://www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.