Kilbey, Sandra Joyce Age 84

Sandra Joyce Kilbey {nee Fritz) left our earth for a better place on Sunday, September 17, 2023. She lived 84 years without regrets, knowing she was loved by God. Born on Christmas Eve in 1938 to Walter and Olive Fritz, she was the youngest of six children. Her love of family began in their modest home on North 34 th Street in Milwaukee where she would return many times throughout her life for family gatherings. Sandy was preceded in death by both parents and all five of her siblings. After graduating from George Washington High School, Sandy married her best friend’s (Helen West) brother, William (Bill) Kilbey. They started their family in 1959 while living in the downstairs apartment of Bill’s childhood home on North 33 rd Street. After a few years, and a few babies, they moved to a bigger home in the suburb of Brookfield where the family grew to six children. Aside from raising their children, she also enjoyed her work experience at JC Penney during this time. The Kilbeys loved the outdoors and camping so in 1969 Bill and Sandy bought 40 acres “up north” in Adams County where they enjoyed their weekends in the country at the place they named “Deadwood”. Eventually, they loaded up their truck and moved to Big Flats where they bought their first restaurant, Kilbey’s Kitchen. This became a true family business with everyone doing their fair share.

Sandy became a successful businesswoman/working mother in the seventies. She was ahead of her time in many ways. In the eighties, she went on to own or manage several more restaurants/bars in her career, including Rank’s Bar in Adams and Midway on Hwy 13 in Big Flats. Sandy was well known in the area for her kind, fair, and friendly ways. Everyone loves Sandy! Her final entrepreneurial success came about with the purchase of Wood Lake Resort near Westfield in 1990. Sandy employed wonderful workers who were loyal and devoted to her. She inspired them to be the best people they could be. For many years she served the surrounding community with her famous Friday fish frys, great old fashioneds, and warm hospitality. Sandy retired and lived in a beautiful cabin she had built on Wood Lake. Many of her best friendships were the “lake people”. She worked tirelessly with the Wood Lake Association to keep their lake clean, beautiful, and a fun place to hang out with family and friends. Her many grandchildren were fortunate to grow up with many exciting Wood Lake memories.

After retiring from Wood Lake Resort, she took her love and passion for the restaurant/bar business to a new level by joining forces with the Tavern League of Wisconsin. She held County and State officer positions with the tavern league. She traveled around Wisconsin advocating for the rights of restaurant and bar owners. Her reputation for persistence precedes her. Sandy has always lived her life for others, and this was just another example of that. Sandy created a full life for herself which included a home in Florida for six months out of the year. She enjoyed her new Canadian friends and thrived in the Winter Garden community. For a while she continued to work after retiring, purchasing, and hauling her famous ice cream truck with her, back and forth between Wisconsin and Florida. Many of her grandchildren had their first jobs with Grandma, or at least some free ice cream while they worked! This move to Florida provided vacation spots for all her children and grandchildren. If she moved there hoping to “get away from the kids”, it did not work! Sandy continued her exciting and crazy adventures while traveling with family and friends. She knew how to have a good time!

Sandy considered her greatest accomplishment to be raising six children to successful adulthoods. Later in life you could often hear her bragging about how wonderful her children were and what greats things they were doing in the world. Eventually they raised her 21 beautiful grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren, and even a great, great grandchild who she was incredibly proud of. She sang “You Are My Sunshine” to hundreds, made vegetable beef soup for thousands, and touched the lives of millions. She will be dearly missed until we meet once again for more walnut slices, miller lites, and lots of love.

Sandy is survived by three caring daughters, Cindy, Linda, and Jenny (Jack), and two devoted sons, Bill Jr. (Lori), and Patrick (Jamie). Sadly, she lost a loving daughter, Wendy, in 2011 to a rare, incurable cancer. This was a sadness that stayed with her until her passing. We will celebrate Sandy’s grand life on Sunday, October 1 with visitation from 12:30 until 2:30 with a service to follow at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Westfield. All are invited to continue the celebration with a meal and cocktails at the infamous Wood Lake Resort at 3:30pm. We know she would love to see you there.

We would like to honor Immanuel Lutheran Church, the church Sandy attended for decades and loved with all her heart with all monetary donations.


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