Friday, July 3, 2020

James N. Sands, 87, Kasson

James N. Sands, 87, died after a brief illness on Saturday morning, June 6, 2020, at his home in Kasson.  He was born on May 30, 1933, in Kenyon, the son of Aaron N. and Geraldine (Nesseth) Sands.

After the death of his parents in 1938, he lived with his grandmother, Belle Sands, and grew up in Kenyon. He graduated from Kenyon High School in 1951. Following graduation, he attended Luther College for two years and then enlisted in the Army. After his honorable discharge, he transferred to Winona State and graduated in 1960. 

He began his career in education as a social studies teacher in the Kasson-Mantorville School District and taught there for 32 years. He also taught driver training for many of those years.

On June 22, 1963, Jim married Phyllis Haglund, a fellow K-M teacher, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Jamestown, ND.

 In 1968, Jim became the K-M Athletic Director. He was Region 1 Athletic Director of the Year in 1988, and was inducted into the Minnesota Athletic Director Hall of Fame in 2007. He was named to the K-M Hall of Fame in 2000. 

After he retired, he stayed involved in high school sports and ran the clock for KoMet football, kept the book for basketball games and served as the District 4 Tournament Manager and the Section 1 Football Coordinator.

Jim was an active member in the community. He volunteered as a Semcac driver and worked with the Kasson Food Shelf. He and his wife also volunteered several times for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation in the North Dakota Badlands. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, the Zumbro Valley Golf Course and the Kasson American Legion.

Jim was a loyal Gopher, Vikings and Twins fan. He played many rounds of golf at the Zumbro Valley Golf Course and kept busy tending his flowers. He and his wife enjoyed traveling. He loved attending his grandchildren's extracurricular school activities and faith milestones in Kasson and Austin, TX.

Jim is survived by his wife of 57 years, Phyllis, his daughter Jennifer (Brian) Graham of Austin, TX, his son Paul (Tonya) of Kasson and his six grandchildren: Rachel, Nicholas, and Matthew Graham and Jade, Shae and Aaron Sands.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his grandparents and his brother, Sam.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to RAF K-M Scholarship Program, the James Sands Education Scholarship at Winona State University or St. John’s Lutheran Church Foundation.

Services will be held Wednesday, July 1 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 301 8th Ave NW, Kasson with Pastors David Efflandt and Nirmala Reinschmidt officiating. Visitation will be at the church one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will be in the Kenyon Cemetery in Kenyon. Military graveside services will be provided by the Kenyon VFW.

Dibble Funeral Home & Cremation Services – Kasson is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be shared at



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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times

411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent

121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing

121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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