Sandra “Sam” (Basnett) Tofanelli, of Prior Lake, MN (formerly of Littleton, MA), passed away on August 5, 2016 at the age of 58. Private family services will be held at a later time. Donations in her name to The American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers.
On February 9, 1958, Jim and Irene Basnett celebrated the birth of their daughter, Sandra Lee. Sam was the third of eight children, and she loved growing up in Littleton with her siblings, Deborah, Bonnie, James, Jr., Karen, Sharon, Robert and Robin. Growing up in the middle of a large family Sam had a headstrong, stubborn personality that served her well throughout her life. Growing up Sam was very active in both athletics and in the arts. She played field hockey, basketball, played the flute and enjoyed singing.
After graduating from Littleton High School in 1976, Sam attended Middlesex College where she completed her degree as a dental hygienist and spent a year living in Phoenix before moving back to Massachusetts.
Sam and Matt met at a nightclub in Westford, Massachusetts. After dating for two years, Matt and Sam exchanged wedding vows at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Littleton on a snowy Valentine’s Day in 1982. They were blessed with their first son Nicholas in 1984 followed by Marcus in 1988.
They moved to Minnesota in 1985 to start a business together. Sam took on the dual role as mother and Chief Financial Officer for EMT Engineering Sales. Sam balanced the dual career both as a volunteering mother at her children’s school, community events and athletic clubs as well as running the finances for an organization that grew to 20 employees spanning two countries.
Sam had a passion for her home where she was an accomplished cook and decorator. She loved Victorian styling and created her dream home on Prior Lake, known in the community as The Purple Palace, Barney’s House or Prince’s House. A compassionate woman Sam was the family philanthropist, donating to a wide range of local charities. She also supported the arts donating to the local theater.
Although Sam had many hobbies and interests, her biggest passion in life was her family and friends. Sam was a wonderful wife, a loving mother and a great friend. She was always encouraging and supportive of her boys. Sam would listen to them and give honest, at times blunt, advice, but still allowed her boys to make their own choices.
The morning of August 5, 2016, Sam passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her loving family. She was a generous and passionate woman who was full of life. She will be remembered always by her husband, Matt Tofanelli; sons, Nick Tofanelli and Marcus Tofanelli; mother, Irene Basnett; siblings, Bonnie (Jef) Feehan, Jim Basnett, Karen (Brian) Richter, Sharon (Rob) Lingham, Rob (Lori) Basnett; Robin (Joe) Ashline; brother-in-law, Wayne Manni; many nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends. Sam is preceded in death by her father, Jim Basnett and sister, Debbie Manni.
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