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Sandie’s Legacy of Love

1000517_408951422559546_448590491_nSandie Konopelski came to the Wildlife Hotline after hearing about us online, and through a mutual friend. 1170_397795507008471_427420956_cropWhen we first spoke to her she was so excited to be a part of this organization, and we were elated to have her. Sandie had been rehabilitating wildlife on her own, out of her home, in Metro-East Illinois for 20+ years all alone. She felt isolated except for a few friends here and there, but she wanted a family. We were so lucky to have her become part of ours. She fit right in immediately, and loved being able to talk to a huge group of people that also talked incessantly about poop, blood, and gross things that ‘normal’ people steer clear of. She developed close bonds with many of us, meeting up for lunches, meetings, vet visits, and talking to each other on the phone multiple times per day at times. Sandie became a resource that we couldn’t function without. Her 20+ years of wildlife knowledge was worth more than any amount of books, seminars, or classes. She had a way of mentoring new staff members and training them to follow our protocols with ease. Often, the staff member barely noticed that they were being trained at all. She ran herself ragged every day going to get animals from all over Illinois, even after we tried to set up some people to do transporting for her. She was so 10400931_40587328920_8682_nused to doing it all alone that it was hard for her to ask for help. She was superwoman. No one else on this planet could make it through one day in Sandie’s shoes. Where she found the energy, we’ll never know, but we know what drove her – LOVE. Love for animals, love for people, love for nature, love for the environment, and love for God. She was an amazing woman, and she will never be forgotten by any of us. We IMG_2839will miss her every day and the animals of Illinois will feel this loss as well. There is some solace in knowing that she passed doing what she loved, but we still can’t wrap our minds around this senseless tragedy. We know that Sandie had been called out before by Metrolink to help with animals on the tracks, that were still alive. She’d rescued a red fox kit, a juvenile eagle, multiple opossums, a deer fawn – all from Metrolink’s rails. Every time she would go on these calls, she would first go to the ‘station house’ to let someone know that she was there and to have someone show her where the animal was. Often Metrolink would walk with her to where the animal was, or they would drive her over to it, depending on how far it was. She’d done this many times before and it was simply a twist of fate. We may never know what exactly happened, but we know that she isn’t coming back to us. We all miss you terribly Sandie, and we are overcome with the grief of losing you. You have left behind a devoted husband that made you laugh with ease, a daughter that you couldn’t be more proud of, pets that you loved with every fiber of your being, and a multitude of friends that you considered family. We hope that you knew how truly loved you were. It doesn’t get said enough. We know that you had a multitude of smiling critters to greet you when you made it to your eternal resting place, and that does provide us and others that knew and loved her, with some solace. We sincerely hope that you are cuddling up on a cloud with a baby raccoon on one side and a little skunk on the other while birds flutter around you. Fly free Sandie. We love you.351a8ba011200131bf1832d8ace2ad89 (1)

Sandra ‘Sandie’ Konopelski 

1957 – 2015

Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure… 

You are loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure.

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

May 1, 2015: Visitation will be held at Schildknecht Funeral Home 301 S Lincoln Avenue, O’Fallon IL 4:00-8:00pm

May 2, 2015: Funeral will be held at Faith Family Church 704 N Green Mount Rd, Shiloh, IL. Service starts at 10:30am.

To honor Sandie’s memory and the tireless effort she put forward during his life saving animals, please donate to carry her legacy forward for years to come.

(The family is asking that contributions be made in her name in lieu of flowers.)

Donations can be made by clicking here.


Also visit her memorial page at to sign the guestbook and pay your respects online.1328x747

Articles honoring Sandie’s life and work

St. Louis Post Dispatch

House Rabbit Society

Channel 2 Fox News

The Inquisitor

Daily Mail


St. Louis Sun Times