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Obituary: Sandra L. McMullen

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Sandra L. McMullen died on Nov. 27, in Lakewood, CO, just short of her 83rd birthday.
She was born on December 8, 1935 in Emporia, KS to Paul and Virginia (Bergerhouse) DeBauge and is survived by her husband, Dr. Joseph McMullen, children Robert McMullen, Karla (McMullen) Klossner (David Klossner), Joseph McMullen, and Paula (McMullen) Wright (Eddie Wright), and 9 devoted grandchildren.
A graduate of Kansas University, Sandra taught English in the Kansas City public school district. She married Dr. Joseph McMullen of Great Bend, KS on June 2, 1961 in Kansas City, KS and they soon moved to Hutchinson, KS, where they lived together for over 30 years.
Always passionate about politics, Sandra was an active member of the League of Women’s Voters and “held court” with marathon political discussions among political enthusiasts. In 1974 she led the Kansas senatorial campaign for democratic candidate Bill Roy. She spearheaded the Kansas campaign for President Jimmy Carter and attended his inauguration in 1977. A lifelong advocate for education, she was the first female appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents and became acting Chairwoman in 1981.
Sandra’s true philanthropic spirit found a home with the Hutchinson Community Foundation.
Her peers said: “Sandra was a force, a hustler, an activist, the ‘Queen of Collaboration.’ She started doing the work because she saw the need when the organization was still grassroots, when she made phone calls from her home, and when the Foundation was housed in donated office space at The Compound. She believed that what’s good for the children is what’s good for the community, and she lived it. Sandra became the foundation’s founding president and led [the Foundation] through the first decade with grace, empowering so many in the community to make a difference.”
Retiring to Carbondale, CO, she was involved in the Carbondale Rotary Club and became a member of the St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church.
Her cousin, Dede Osborn, sums up the grace of her spirit in life perfectly: “She was love personified… always smiling, always a liberal (Yay!), always going out of her way to meet and greet…“ And, as Sandra’s dear friend Marilyn Bolton says, that means anyone and everyone. Sandra embodies “the value of lending a kindly eye to nearly all situations, and that there is definitely more than one way to look at the world.”
Sandra’s service will be held 10 a.m. on Dec. 6
at Our Lady of Fatima (1985 Miller St. Lakewood / (303) 233-6236). Memorial gifts are encouraged to the Sandra McMullen Fund for Hutchinson at Hutchinson Community Foundation, PO Box 298, Hutchinson, KS 67504.
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