Patricia Ann Sanders, age 89, of Jefferson City, died August 26, 2020 surrounded by family.
She was born to the late Mildred and William Smashey, April 27, 1931, in St. Louis, Missouri. Pat grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and Louisiana, Missouri. She graduated from Washington University and lived in Boston, Massachusetts; Wiesbaden, Germany and Columbia, Missouri before settling in Jefferson City.
Throughout her life, Pat’s first love was her family. Her mother, Mildred, was a loving role model and mentor, sharing her love of books, gardening, and community service with her daughter. Pat relished her role as a mother and grandmother and was always there to help within days, if not hours of a grandchild’s birth. She also made it a point to visit all of her children and grandchildren no matter how far away they lived. She loved flowers, gardening, traveling, and books, passing these passions on to her children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren as her mother did with her.
Pat’s love of travel and different cultures led her to the Galapagos Islands, Russia, India, and Nepal at a time when traveling to those places was a much greater adventure than it is today. We will always remember her endless curiosity about distant lands, ancient civilizations, and today’s Native American cultures. She visited the Paleolithic cave paintings in France, attended the sacred Lakota Sun Dance, walked the Egyptian ruins, participated in archeological digs, and held hands with Sherpa children as she trekked the Himalayas. Her home was filled with special mementos from all of her travels. Her kids and grandkids have continued traveling to far away places and she never tired of listening to their many adventures.
Pat had a special heart for education and children. She was most proud of being elected to 3 terms on the Jefferson City School Board and leading committees to establish the Nichols Career Center and The Special Learning Center. She loved to tell the story of The Special Learning Center starting out in an old garage with 50 children who had developmental delays and the teachers who worked without pay until funding could be obtained. This program now serves over 600 children throughout the Cole County area from birth through elementary ages.
Pat spent the first part of her adult life raising her children and volunteering for more organizations than we can list. In her fifties, she had the courage to enter the work place for the first time, when few women did. She worked at Scholastic Books when their most famous character was “Clifford the Big Red Dog” instead of “Harry Potter”. She worked at the News Tribune for several years and is still remembered fondly by many of her co- workers. After retiring, Pat volunteered to read with first and second graders at Moreau Heights Elementary School for over 10 years. During that time, you might see her along a road or in a park, looking for milkweed and monarch caterpillars to take into the classroom so the students could watch them transform into butterflies.
Pat will be remembered for always having a new book to share, for never-ending walks on the beach because the most interesting seashell or piece of driftwood is “just a little farther”, for always having time to stop and admire the flowers, and for so much more. She led a life filled with love, curiosity, and service and made an immeasurable impact on the world around her. She will be remembered with love and will be greatly missed.
Pat is survived by: her children, Linda (Shawn) Gary of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jeff (Carol) Sanders of Jefferson City, and Laura (Roger) Arndt of Franktown, Colorado; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Matt), Adam (Carly), and Holly (Russ), Ryan (Ashley), Shane, and Meagan, Erik and Cory; great-grandchildren, Iris, Abe, Eleanor, and Jayla, Sawyer and Rowan; and family friends, Linda (Gene) Wiseman of Jefferson City and Micou (Laurent) Vergnettes of Toulon, France.
She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Wilma Little and her husband Merle.
A memorial service will be held with family at Pat’s much-loved Lake Michigan cottage at a later date. Friends may mail sympathy cards or a story of Pat to the funeral home or leave notes online to be given to her family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Special Learning Center, 1115 Fairground Road, Jefferson City, MO 65109. You could also plant a flower, read a book to a child, or volunteer somewhere to make the world a better place.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Freeman Mortuary, 915 Madison Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
We hope you enjoy reading remarks that her children wrote to remember their Mom - Link to ’Remarks from Pat’s Children’
Please read some of Pat’s ’Words of Wisdom’ for family and friends - Link to PDF file Pat’s ’Words of Wisdom’