Cover photo for Sandra J. Barnum's Obituary
Sandra J. Barnum Profile Photo
1939 Sandra 2024

Sandra J. Barnum

January 27, 1939 — January 5, 2024

Sandy peacefully passed away on January 5, 2024, with her children at her side. She is survived by her son, Don Barnum Jr., daughter Shelly Barnum Dilley, grandchildren Rylie Barnum, Ryan Barnum, and T.J. Dilley; sister-in-law Carolyn Barnum; 15 nieces and nephews; and 12 great nieces and nephews spread throughout the country. She is predeceased by her husband, Donald L. Barnum, father, Edward Barr, mother, Marion Peterson Barr, in-laws Bob and Lynn Barnum, Clair Barnum, Mel and Betty Robertson, Carl and Lois (Bee) Warner, Dick and Shirley Johnson, and nephew Doug Johnson.

Sandy was born on January 27, 1939, in Belvidere, IL, where she was raised and attended Belvidere High School, graduating in 1957. She enjoyed working as a rollerskating car hop and soda jerk at popular Belvidere hot spots. In her early 20s, Sandy officially met Don Barnum after admiring him as a lifeguard at the Belvidere pool in 8th grade. They were married in Belvidere on November 28, 1959, and enjoyed 65 years of marriage.

Sandy held several administrative positions but was most proud of her work as the Dean’s Assistant at the University of Illinois, Rockford, for 20 years. Amongst those positions, she had a macramé business, making and selling pieces to support family vacations and other fun events.

Sandy considered being a mother to be her favorite life’s work. She was ever-present at school events, was a room mom most years, attended almost every game or recital her children ever had, was a Girl Scout leader, and Guilford High School booster club member. Family vacations in the station wagon were one of Sandy’s favorite activities. Sandy and Don visited their grown children frequently in multiple cities around the country, continually touting all the great things happening in Rockford and imploring them to move back. She loved her grandchildren and spent as much time with them as possible, watching them grow into young adults. She was proud of what her kids and grandkids accomplished over the years. Sandy and Don loved to travel. They visited all 50 states, with Hawaii and Alaska as favorites. A significant highlight was a trip to Europe, including a hotel stay at the family Lumley Castle in Durham, England.

Sandy was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church for 55 years, where she was a Deacon, Chancel Choir Member, Shepherd, Usher and a member of multiple committees such as the Fine Arts, Funeral Hospitality, and Church Event Planning.

Sandy had an eye for color and composition. She could tell with one glance if a piece of artwork was a quarter inch off or crooked, much to Don’s chagrin. She excelled at entertaining and organizing functions be it for family, friends or organizations. She loved creating flower arrangements from her husband’s gardens and beautiful table settings. She was the consummate social chair because she loved gathering people in fellowship and was quick to include new people. She volunteered for many years at the New American Theatre, Coronado, and Starlight Theatre. If there was an event with dancing, you can be sure Sandy and Don would be one of the first couples on the dance floor. She also loved to play cards, especially bridge, and bowl with her bright yellow ball.

Sandy was a dedicated daughter, caring for her father, mother, and her mother-in-law. She was ever steadfast in caregiving to her husband Don through his many-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Sandy loved her family, friends, and the Lord with all her heart.

Sandy’s Visitation will be held Friday, January 19, 2024, from 10:00 - 11:00 AM, followed by a Memorial Service at 11:00 AM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 N Bell School Rd, Rockford, IL 61107. A coffee hour will immediately follow services in the Church Social Hall.

Her family would like to say a special thank you to the loving and dedicated staff at Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center and ProMedica Hospice for helping carry Sandy through her last years of life.

If memorials would like to be sent, please send in memory of Sandy Barnum to Westminster Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund for the Fine Arts Committee.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sandra J. Barnum, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 19, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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