Sandra (“Sandi”) Sue Wilmot, the daughter of Arthur and Grace (Hessenius) Mugge was born in Spencer, Iowa on February 13, 1942. Sandi spent her childhood years in Spencer where she received her education, graduating from Spencer High School. Sandi’s childhood years were spent actively involved in 4-H showing cattle, winning blue ribbons in showing her prized calves and riding her horse Jerry with her big brothers. Following her graduation, Sandi married the love of her life, Jerry Wilmot on September 4, 1960. At the beginning of her professional career Sandi worked as a bank teller. She then stayed home a few years to raise her son Greg.
In 1972 Sandi started Books ‘N Things in downtown Spencer, Iowa with her husband. This 6,000 square foot book, gift, needlework, craft and hobby store was Sandi’s passion that she and her business partner, Mary Rahn, grew into one of Iowa’s premier retail locations. Sandi took an unexpected brief break from the business to have her daughter Suzie. To support the retail store during the farm crisis of the 1980s, Sandi & Mary started wholesaling their own needlework designs and books internationally. Sandi’s involvement in the craft & hobby industry led to her being appointed as the first female president of the international Hobby Industry Association. Sandi assumed the leadership role in 1999, after serving in the president-elect role under the CEO of Michael’s stores. Sandi’s appointment to this position was instrumental in the hobby and craft trade industry hearing the voice of their customer, not only was Sandi the first female nominated for this role, but she was the first board member to represent independent retailers. She was completely undeterred that all of her fellow board members were male CEOS of large international operations, all of whom lived in large cities across the globe, and she was leading the organization while residing in a small community of 10,000 people in Iowa. Her success in these board roles not only grew her personally and professionally, but assisted her in continuing to build her retail businesses, which had expanded to two locations.
In addition to her business, Sandi loved her friends. She enjoyed playing weekly tennis matches and monthly bridge games and once retired adding mahjong to the mix of friend gatherings. The main priority of Sandi’s social time was her soulmate husband, they were blessed with amazing family and friends and many social travels and outings that made Sandi so fulfilled. Sandi’s volunteer efforts included founding the Art Center in downtown Spencer. Sandi was a member of Okoboji Yacht Club and the First Congregational Church in Spencer.
Sandi’s battle with cancer began in 1998 and each time the diagnosis came back unfavorable, Sandi came back stronger. She has taught her family and friends the importance of grace and determination and her husband has taught us how to be the ultimate caretaker. Sandi and her family felt blessed to have a cancer center located in the area that provided state of the art care.
She is preceded in death by her parents, four brothers: Robert, Keith, Morgan and Bennett and one sister, Beverly Kimball. She is survived by her husband, Gerald of West Okoboji; her children: Gregory (Leah) of Glendale, AZ and Suzie of West Okoboji, IA; eighteen nieces and nephews; other relatives and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Abben Cancer Center in Spencer, Iowa or Historic Arnolds Park in Arnolds Park, Iowa.
Celebration Of Life to be held Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Majestic Pavilion at Historic Arnolds Park from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M.