Craig W. Sandahl
1927 - 2017

Craig Williams Sandahl, 90 years young, West Des Moines passed away on Saturday night, October 14, 2017 at his home, surrounded by family. Funeral Services will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 22 at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 815 High Street, Des Moines where he was a longtime member. The Right Rev. Bishop Alan Scarfe, The Very Rev. Troy Beecham and Deacon John Doherty will be officiating. His ashes will be laid alongside his wife's at Glendale Cemetery after the service. After the service and burial, a gathering for memories and conversation will be held at the Sandahl's home where a lunch will be shared with his family and many friends.

Craig W. Sandahl was born on May 2, 1927 in Des Moines to Lester and Lois (Fitch) Sandahl. He grew up in Des Moines and spent summers with his family in Lake Okoboji, Iowa. It was at the lake where he developed his love of sailing and met Liz Lytle, his wife of 71 years.

He attended Roosevelt school and graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach, New Jersey. After serving in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, he graduated from Iowa State University in Chemical Engineering. During his career he was involved in manufacturing, mail order pharmaceuticals, farming and banking. Craig was a member of Youth Presidential Organization, Chief Executive Organization and World Presidential Organization, Za Ga Zig Shrine and Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Okoboji Yacht Club and Cruising Club of America.

Craig was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth; parents, Lester and Lois Sandahl; and his brother, Robert Sandahl. He is survived by his five children, Suzy (Mel) Miller, Stephen (Judy) Sandahl, Craig (Cindy) Sandahl, Elise (Donnon) and Karin Sandahl. He was known as Grampie to 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, CJ (Heidi) Morton, Michael Morton, Daniel (Joletta) Morton (Austin, Olivia, Maxwell), Leigh Morton (MacKenzie, Emilie, Rylie), Scott (Lori) Sandahl (Callie), Shannon Sandahl (Andrew), Ryan (Laura) Sandahl (Ellen, Clark, Elliott), Shawn (Tyler) Sandahl, Stescey (Ron) Blum (Gyllian, Gabriella), Conrad Sandahl (Brice), Eric Sandahl and Brendan Donnon.

In 2008, Craig founded Guardian Scholars Foundation (GSF), a 501(c)(3) organization based in West Des Moines. The mission of GSF is to facilitate the educational goals of young adults, who have spent time in the Foster Care System between the ages of 14 to 18 through a scholarship and mentorship program. GSF provides a program to enable Iowa's Foster youth to attend four-year universities and earn their bachelor's degree. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Guardian Scholars Foundation online at or by mail to Guardian Scholars Foundation, 3775 EP True Pkwy, Suite 254, West Des Moines, IA 50265. Please make checks payable to Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines - Guardian Scholarship Fund.


Help keep Craig's vision alive!  The estate of Craig Sandahl is matching all gifts through December 31, 2017! 

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The Guardian Scholars Foundation provides a comprehensive program that leverages the expertise and resources of both the public and private sector to create a synergy of support for youth who have spent time in the foster care system in Iowa between the ages of 14-18.  A Guardian Scholarship is more than a scholarship: together, a network of academic institutions and community organizations, public service agencies, and private citizens create a community dedicated to assisting foster youth in achieving their educational goals.


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