Music 32


April 7, 1946 ~ March 19, 2020 (age 73)


73, of Neoga, Illinois, passed away at 7:33 PM Thursday, March 19, 2020 in the HSHS St. Anthony Memorial Hospital in Effingham, Illinois.  She was born April 7, 1946 in Effingham, Illinois. She was the daughter of Betty Yakey, and was raised by her grandparents Orville and Lena Cohea.  She married Daniel R. Sparling in 1963 and later married her lifelong friend James "Pete" Buenker on May 25, 2002 in Neoga, Illinois and Pete passed away April 30, 2007.  Before retirement, Sandra was a Packager at Kern’s Manufacturing, a Bartender at Russ’ Restaurant and a Manager at the Neoga American Legion all of Neoga, Illinois. She often worked multiples jobs so that her family was taken care of.  She loved her family, her friends, her pets, Gospel Music, listening to Jimmy Swaggart preach, reading, tending to her flowers, and mushroom hunting. Sandra enjoyed playing the piano, she taught herself to play when she was young and never learned to use sheet music, she only played by ear. She was happy to play for different churches anytime she was asked to. Sandra had a love for all animals. She had raised several raccoons over the years as well as rescued several cats and dogs. She was a Member of the Assembly Of God Church in Effingham, Illinois and an active member of the NRA. Above all, Sandra enjoyed being a grandma. Yet, her grandkids never called her grandma, instead they called her Nene.

Sandy leaves behind her son, Rick Sparling (Jenny) of Neoga; daughter, Leslie Romack (Jay) of Neoga; grandchildren, Kinsey Romack, Kyle Romack, Alena Sparling, Daniel Sparling and Rayna Sparling; sister, Pam Whitehead (Doug) of Natchez, Mississippi; brother, Robert Yakey (Ann) of Ferriday, Louisiana; and her canine companions, Whiskey Jo and Rascal. 

She was  preceded in death by her mother and husband, Pete Buenker; son Danny "Beepers" (Heaven’s Special Child); her adoptive parents, Orville and Lena Cohea; brother, Jimmy Yakey; sister, Patty Yakey; aunts, Velma, Arvella, Winnijean, Mildred, Lucille and Lois; her dog, Little Bit “Bitty” and cat, MoMo.

Memorials are suggested to the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, St. Jude Children’s Hospital or any local animal shelter.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, September 19, 2020 from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM at  the Toledo American Legion in Toledo, Illinois.

Swengel - O’Dell Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

online condolences may be expressed at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of SANDRA JEAN "SANDY" BUENKER, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
September 19, 2020

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Toledo Amercan Legion
206 S. Jersey St
Toledo, IL 62468

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