|Birth: ||Jun. 5, 1915|
|Death: ||Jun. 18, 2003|
Third son of Eric Olaf and Lillie (Ulander) Sandelius.
Brothers: Ernest Olaf, Gust Henry, Ira Enoch, Einar Arthur.
He was born June 5, 1915, the third of five boys to Swedish immigrants. When he was about five he tried to climb a board that was leaning against his house and fell, breaking his left arm. The bone was improperly set by the doctor, and he was left with an arm that could not be straightened. Although it kept him out of the service in WW2, it never stopped him from doing anything he wanted to do, as he was a skier in his teens and an avid fisherman and hunter in his later years. He also took it upon himself to plant many trees on and around his parent's land, as the area had been decimated by the logging boom which had ended shortly before his birth.
He graduated from high school in 1933 at the height of the depression, but managed to find a job with a local hardware store. When he was offered the job, he was told that the pay was something like $6/wk (a typical amount for that time), whereupon he jumped up and said, "If I'm not worth at least $10/wk, then I don't want the job!" Apparently the owner was amused and gave him what he asked for, and one of his first jobs was to take the other applicants resumes to the incinerator to be disposed of. He was amazed to find that he had beaten out nearly a hundred people for this job, some of whom had college degrees and many years of experience and would have gladly taken the job for any amount of money. He said he always remembered what a humbling experience that was, and he laughed about how foolhardy he had been to demand more than he was offered for this job.
Because of his interest in reforestation, he had wanted to get involved with that or surveying after he graduated from high school, but college was not a possibility, and at that time such jobs were apparently given out as political favors, as he related the story of how he traveled to our state capitol to speak to a man whom he was told could help him with his chosen field. He waited all day to see the man, who finally told him that he couldn't even get him a job as a flag man on a road crew without the OK of some political boss in his home county. Deeply disillusioned, he abandoned his dream, and began work at the hardware store.
He worked on and off at the hardware store for many years as he started and stopped several business ventures, and around 1936-7 he was working as a traveling salesman selling gasoline-powered washing machines to farmer's wives, as many farms were not yet fully wired for electricity, and gasoline was a cheap and plentiful source of power. It was because of this job that he met my grandmother, who was, of course, a farmer's daughter, and they were married on February 26, 1938. My father, born 10 months and one day later above the appliance store my grandfather then owned, was their only surviving child.
As he was 4F because of his arm, he spent the war years working in a plant that supplied machinery for the war effort. He later started his own machine shop with a partner, still using the hardware store job as something to fall back on, and later sold out his share of that business to start an industrial supply store with another partner. The partner ran the day-to-day operations while my grandfather was the salesman/buyer, and he traveled quite a bit in this capacity. My father worked there in his teens, and remembered an incident where an elderly man came in and asked the price of an item. My grandfather said something like, "It's usually 50 cents, but for you it's two dollars." My father and my grandfather's partner were both aghast at this, so my grandfather went on, "You probably don't remember this, but when I was a kid I cut your grass and was promised a nickel for it. You never paid me, so I figure that with interest, that should be just about right." My grandfather was not a vindictive man, but he believed in fair dealings. If you gave your word, you'd better keep it. (My grandfather made the sale.)
Around 1971, my grandfather decided to take early retirement. He sold out to his partner and proceeded to work harder than he had for years, as he had spent the better part of a decade sitting at a desk or behind the wheel of a car. He built a vacation home in Florida from the ground up by himself, and a home here in Michigan as well. He later sold both those homes for a tidy profit, and bought and remodeled homes to rent out for extra income. He and my grandmother spent over 20 winters in Florida, before she became ill and could no longer travel. When he could no longer care for her himself, he reluctantly allowed her to go to a nursing home, where he went every day to feed her himself. He did quite well on his own for the five or so years my grandmother spent there until she passed away in April of 1999, but her death left him bereft, and he entered the same home on February 8, 2000. He went through a few spells of physical frailty, but his mind was fairly sharp until the last few months of his life. When his last surviving brother died a few months before his own death, he was also in the same facility, and when I broke the news to him, I saw my grandfather cry for the first and only time.
I know I haven't begun to do justice to my grandfather with just a few paragraphs, and I haven't even really touched on my personal memories of him. I remember how he used to tell me a Swedish rhyme that was like "This Little Piggy", but I can't remember how it goes anymore. I remember that he hated corn and his middle name (not necessarily in that order). I remember the Christmas Eve that I was 2 or 3 years old when my mother took me into the bathroom to distract me while the presents were put out, he shouted "HO HO HO!" when they were done and stomped around and slammed the door, telling me that I had "just missed" Santa when I ran out. I remember being a little suspicious even then, but that may be a later conclusion that I came to, as everyone swore I believed it. Most of all, I remember that from the time I could talk, I insisted that he was not "Grandpa", as everyone originally referred to him as, but "Poppa", a name that no one could ever figure out where I came up with it at.
If you've read this far, you'll remember that I mentioned that he planted trees in his youth. A few weeks after his death I received a card from The Living Memorial Program, telling me that the funeral home had made arrangements with them to plant a tree in his name in a national forest.
Eric O. Sandelius (1889 - 1967)
Lillie Ranghild Ulander Sandelius (1889 - 1971)
Mildred Mary Harp Sandelius (1919 - 1999)*
Baby Sandelius (1950 - 1950)*
Ernest Olaf Sandelius (1912 - 1978)*
Gust H Sandelius (1913 - 1987)*
Stanley Edvin Sandelius (1915 - 2003)
Ira E Sandelius (1917 - 2002)*
Einar A Sandelius (1919 - 1990)*
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Plot: Block U Lot 7
Created by: ALW
Record added: Apr 13, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13937418
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