Cover photo for Judge Sally L. Tarnowski's Obituary
Judge Sally L. Tarnowski Profile Photo
1960 Judge Sally 2023

Judge Sally L. Tarnowski

January 8, 1960 — March 6, 2023



Judge Sally L. Tarnowski, age 63, died tragically, March 6th, 2023, during her beloved morning run while vacationing in Venice, Florida. 


A lifelong Duluthian, Sally was born in 1960 to Joan and John Sjogren. She loved games and sports from an early age and went on to play varsity volleyball, basketball, softball and golf as a Duluth East Greyhound.  In 2016 she was inducted into the school’s hall of fame.  She received degrees from the University of Minnesota Duluth and William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

She went on to work as a law clerk, associate attorney and shareholder at the Duluth firm of Johnson, Killen and Seiler from 1986-2003. She was in private practice as a family law attorney in 2007 when she was appointed to the 6th Judicial District bench where she remained at the time of her death. 

In her work, she was a dedicated, tenacious and highly respected Judge but of all her accomplishments in life, none was more treasured than her kids, Katie and Ben. She always made time to help with homework, attend and coach their various sporting events and act as the number one support system with love and acceptance.  No matter what hat she was wearing, she always had that motherly instinct to help when someone didn’t believe in themselves, and she never gave up on them.

Sally had a zest for life, and she was that person who accomplished more by 8:00 a.m. than most did in an entire day.  She adored dogs, reading, Vikings football and spending time outdoors, whether that included running, biking, golfing, playing pickleball, bird hunting, fishing or being on the pontoon at the lake.  Sally was engaging and had a way of reading between the lines to see things for what they truly were instead of what they might appear to be.  She was loved and adored by all her friends and family for her genuine smile and positive outlook on life and will be missed by so many.

Sally was preceded in death by her father, John Sjogren.


She is survived by her life partner and husband-to-be, Wayne Hibbard; mother, Joan Sjogren; children, Katharine Tarnowski (fiancé Brandon Solem) and Benjamin Tarnowski (Annabelle); brother, David Sjogren (Jane); and Gordon Setter, Finney.


The memorial service for Judge Tarnowski will be held Thursday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the Lake Superior Ballroom within the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC) in Duluth MN (350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN 55802). Although there will not be a Zoom option, Northern News Now (KBJR-TV) has graciously offered to livestream the event via their Facebook page.


Our family has asked that memorials be sent to the Sixth District Mental Health Court at 227 W 1st St, Suite 302, Duluth MN 55802 OR to the Damiano Center at 206 W 4th Street #214, Duluth MN 55806


Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555, please visit to sign the online guestbook.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Judge Sally L. Tarnowski, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Lake Superior Ballroom

350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802

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