On Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, Josh Sand died at the age of 71.
Josh was born on Nov. 27, 1948 in Grand Forks, N.D., to Robert and Edna (Nupen) Sand. He was the baby of the family with three older siblings, Roberta (who died shortly after her birth), Christi, and Rob. He spent much of his childhood in Bismarck where he rode horses from a young age and remained a cowboy at heart until the very end. He loved sports and was a great athlete. In high school, he rodeoed, wrestled and played hockey and baseball. His siblings remember him as fun, sociable, spunky, and making thier home a more lively one.
Josh attended Bismarck Junior College at which time he discovered his love for singing, playing guitar, and performing in musicals. In 1970, he moved to Spearfish to rodeo and attended college (in that order). This is where he first spotted Coral at a basketball game. She was a cheerleader, and he told his buddy, “I’m going to ask that girl out.” - and he did.
Josh and Coral were married in December of 1973 and, shortly after, moved to Fort Collins, Colo., where Josh was both a fifth-grade school teacher and a school counselor. He loved kids and was the first to volunteer for recess duty. He had a soft heart and always cared for the underdog. He and Coral had two children, Jenny and Kirby.
In 1982, Josh and Coral moved back to Spearfish to raise their family in a smaller community. Coral co-owned a print shop in Colorado, which inspired the two of them to start up Sand Creek Printing. They bought an old farm house and 40 acres west of Spearfish. They invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into remodeling the place including the addition of a barn and arena but did so for the love of people and being able to host countless gatherings where many friendships were formed and memories were made.
Josh and Coral quickly got involved in the community. They found a church they loved and got involved in bible studies. Josh found a coffee group that met every morning, and he golfed every Wednesday afternoon. He started a roping club with others who shared his passion for calf roping and team roping and hosted many events at the country house.
As much as he loved his hobbies, relationships mattered most. He was a dedicated dad, teaching his kids strong values, generously saying, “I love you” and offering hugs freely. He was the life of every birthday party with his made-up games and his connection to Jenny and Kirby’s friends. He frequently spoke of being proud of his kids, especially in whom they chose for spouses. He enjoyed his role as “Grandpa Josh” and made sure his grandkids were well equipped with cowboy hats and boots. He took pleasure in seeing the older grandkids develop a love and talent for music and the younger ones reach in his pocket for a sucker.
Josh and Coral ran the print shop side by side for 38 years. They were best friends until the end. In recent years, some of their best memories were made at the Killdeer Mountains in North Dakota where they owned a cabin built by Josh’s parents. They spent as much time there as they could. As the years progressed and as various health issues developed, Josh was regularly reminded that he had the best wife and caregiver on the planet.
Although the final chapter in Josh’s life involved declining health and a significant amount of suffering, it brought the more meaningful and lasting matters of life to the forefront. Josh had given his life to Christ years prior, yet it was through his health struggles that he began to recognize his desperate need for salvation more than ever and was challenged to receive God’s unconditional love and acceptance. His personal prayer life grew during this season as he sought God for peace as well as direction regarding the future. Josh believed in the power of prayer and got choked up whenever he talked about others lifting him up in this way.
Josh’s family would like to thank all of those who supported him through this difficult time. Your prayers were felt; your visits, cards, and phone calls were deeply appreciated; and your music was healing.
Josh will be dearly missed by all who knew him. We take comfort in knowing he is finally home with a full revelation of the love of his Father.
Josh is survived by his wife of 46 years, Coral (Thorson) Sand of Spearfish; daughter Jenny (Sand) Greslin and her husband Michael of Spearfish; son Kirby and his wife Megan (Swisher) Sand of Corvallis, Ore.; mother, Edna (Nupen) Sand of Dickinson, N.D.; sister Christi (Sand) Neuens and her husband Ken of Longmont, Colo.; brother Rob Sand and his wife Mary (Herak) Sand of Missoula, Mont.; seven grandchildren whom he adored: Jeff, Cora, and Lowell Sand and Levi, Jace, Seth, and Tate Greslin, as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Sand and his sister, Roberta Rae Sand.
A celebration of life in memory of Josh will be held on March 28 at 10 a.m. at Countryside Church (625 Woodland Dr, Spearfish, SD 57783). A lunch reception and live music will follow.
The family has designated Summit Education Center in Spearfish for memorial contributions.
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