December 8, 1935 ~ November 27, 2018

Born in: Emporia, KS
Resided in: Lakewood, CO

Sandra L. McMullen died on November 27 in Lakewood, CO, just short of her 83rd birthday.   She was born on 12/8/1935 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 Rotary Club and became a member of the Mt. Sopris 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 December 6, 2018 at Our Lady of Fatima 1985 Miller St Lakewood, CO 80215-2745, (303) 233-6236. Memorial gifts are encouraged to the Sandra McMullen Fund for Hutchinson at Hutchinson Community Foundation, PO Box 298, Hutchinson, KS 67504.




Memorial Service: December 6, 2018 10:00 am

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
1985 Miller Street
Lakewood, CO 80215


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  1. From Craig & Maria Reynolds our deepest condolences & may God give all her family & loved ones peace & understanding through this very difficult time, you all are in our prayers

  2. Paula and family prayers to you and your family. As a social worker you can best honor her works to continue her mission.

  3. Paula and family prayers to you and your family. As a social worker you can best honor her works to continue her mission.

  4. So sorry to hear about Sandra. She was such a nice person and we always enjoyed being with her. We send you our sympathies and join you in your grief.

    Barbara and Larry DeBauge and family

  5. Sandra was such an intelligent and loving person. She touched everyone who knew her with grace, strength, and spirit. Karla, Dave, Kendra, Dylan and Audry , please find comfort that Sandra loved you to deep for words. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the McMullen family. Pat and Larry Whalen

  6. Dear Joe & family, we are so sorry to hear about Sandra’s passing. She was a wonderful person and glad that she was part of our lives. There are to many memories to share. We will be thinking of your family this weekend.

    Much love,
    Carolyn & Gordon Berry

  7. To the McMullen family,

    Sorry for your loss. Mrs. McMullen was always so nice to us classmates who came to your house to hang out.

    May your memories comfort you.

    Lorelle Blume Mennel

  8. I’m so sorry! Thinking of you and your family that you will be blessed with wonderful memories and the comfort of each other. Deepest sympathy

  9. I am so sorry to learn of Sandra’s passing. She was always a joy to work with when she and I were employed by John Schmidt during the 1980s. I know she will be sorely missed, although I know the family has wonderful memories of her amazing life.

  10. Dear Joe & Family,

    All of us here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson are so sorry to hear about Sandra’s passing. She was one of my mentors and I will never forget her or her vision for the youth of Hutchinson. Sandra was instrumental in helping us begin a small afterschool program way back in 1990 that started with 8 youth being served that has now grown to serving over 1000 youth each year. Her generosity and compassion towards our most precious resource, the youth of our community will never be forgotten. We will miss her.

  11. To my beloved mother who taught me so much. She taught me early in life to being comfortable being uncomfortable. She helped me spread my wings to become the dad I am today. She will be greatly missed, but I am so relieved she is no longer suffering. I will see you again mother! Love you!

  12. My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sandra. May your treasured memories bring you joy, and may ‘the God of all comfort’ give you strength and a measure of peace for your grieving hearts at this most difficult time.
    2Cor 1:3

  13. Joe and family;
    We send our deepest sympathies to all of you at this time. Sandra was a good friend many years ago in junior and senior high school in Emporia, Kansas. John and I stood up with the cute couple when they got married in K.C. Our parents were very good friends and our two families went on vacations to Colorado together several times. Sandra will be deeply missed by all of you and her many friends in Carbondale, Hutchinson, Kansas City and Emporia. She accomplished so much in her life and will always hold a sweet spot in my heart.
    May God give you strength, love and your many healthy and happy memories to help you through the rough times.
    Joan & John Underwood
    Bozeman, MT

  14. I happened to find this announcement online. I went to school with Karla, and your Mom’s signature was on my Fort Hays State University diploma, as she was on the Board of Regeants. It was impressive reading about all she had achieved, she sounds like a great lady. So sorry for your loss.

  15. Joe,
    Since leaving Carbondale, I have thought of Sandra and you often. I missed doing a lap or two with her at the grocery store.
    I was deeply saddened to hear she is no longer physically with us and wanted to share with you my sincere condolences.
    In my 25+ years and two tenures as President at Carbondale Rotary, Sandra was always the first one to offer her assistance to me and to the club. She was what made those early mornings at Rotary so much fun and productive in the community ~
    Sending you, the children, grandchildren and her friends Crystal Healing Light, Love and a Ton of Hugs during this time of Transition.

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