Sandra Helen (Aschenbrenner) Sprouffske was born Sept. 1, 1948 to Albert and Rosetta (Haskins) Aschenbrenner, the youngest of eight children. She took her last breaths on Jan. 17, 2022, fighting respiratory complications from pneumonia, stemming from radiation treatments in late 2021.
She graduated from Rainier High School in 1966 and enrolled in beauty school and then became a beautician in Yelm. She married the love of her life, Jerry Sprouffske, in 1968 at St. Columban’s Parish Hall in Yelm. Jerry adored her vibrant spirit and joy. The newlyweds loved the monthly dances in town and were known to dazzle on the dance floor. They lived in downtown Rainier for nearly a decade before moving to the farm in 1976 with sons Darren and Kevin.
Sandi was the heart of the Sprouffske family. She made their farmhouse a home, filled with laughter, stories and love. She crocheted, played the piano, kept up on all the latest stories in town, and helped sister-in-law Karen with decorating cakes for special occasions. Walking in the door, you’d often find homemade treats on the counter. If you were lucky around the holidays, her frosted cookies, popcorn balls, or coveted homemade caramels might await you.
She was there to listen and wipe away the tears. She was a natural caregiver who loved and cared for those who needed it the most.
Raising Darren and Kevin as a homemaker, Sandi found herself volunteering at the school and for the boys’ sports teams. She had a soft spot for kids and anyone that needed a little more attention or love. Starting in 1979, she began volunteering in the Rainier lunchroom and over time, she volunteered as a substitute in the kitchen, ISS, library fiand district office. In 1991, she was hired by the Rainier School District as a part-time “lunch lady” and spent 20 years with the district. She greeted every student by name and occasionally found herself quietly covering lunches of those whose balance had run low.
You could consider her a “Rainier Super Fan.” She was at every game and cheering loudly from the stands, fiercely loyal to her team. She and Jerry traveled the northwest with the boys’ AAU team in the Ford Econoline purchased just for that purpose. She coached middle school girls volleyball and even girls basketball with her son Darren. She kept the stats for her sons’ teams and often did the books at the scorer’s table. She appreciated good officiating and often loudly shared her critique of the calls when she disagreed. In fact, not only did she find herself kicked off two different soccer fields in one day by the same official, but learned that sharing her “feedback” at the state basketball tournament from the scorer’s table was a great way to be shown the exit as well. Her heart bled orange and black.
In the fall, she made endless batches of Russian tea in preparation for Christmas tree season on the farm at Sprouffske Trees. She treasured catching up with customers who became friends over many years of visiting the farm and loved sending them home with a tree and a handcrafted wreath. During the off-season, she loved walking the fields with her faithful four-legged companions, Lady and Kirby.
In retirement, she loved her Tuesday mornings with her siblings at the casino, sharing breakfast and swapping stories. When her grandsons were born, she treasured every moment of being “Grandma Sandi” and never missed a Grandparents’ Day or a game for her grandkids. She loved it when their home was filled with family, toys, noise, dice games and laughter.
In her final days, Sandi was surrounded by the lights of her life: husband Jerry and sons Darren and Kevin. She loved her family. She loved her Rainier community. She will be remembered in our hearts, in our memories, when we challenge bad calls (in games or in life), and when we care for others as she did.
Sandi’s celebration of life will be held at the Rainier High School gym on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Rainier High School .