TRAVERSE CITY — Madge E. Sander passed away peacefully on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2014, holding hands with her daughter and son.
Madge was always optimistic, non judgmental and saw only the best in others. Her sense of humor and joie de vivre will be missed by those who knew her.
She was an only child, born to Thomas Richard Walters and Madge Allen Walters in Highland Park on July 27, 1926. As a young child she moved to Lansing, where she met her childhood sweetheart, Frank L. Sander.
She graduated from Lansing Eastern High School in 1944 and from Michigan State University in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
She married Frank on April 24, 1954, at Resurrection Church in Lansing. Frank had just returned from serving in the Second World War, and their priority could now become joining together as a married couple and settling down to start a family. They had three children, Frank T. Sander, Amy A. Sander (Moore) and Daniel Sander and lived in Royal Oak and Jackson before moving to Traverse City in 1972.
At age six Madge found a fairy in her garden and danced with the fairies ever since. Her love of dance developed into a lifelong passion which included dancing with the Grand Rapids Civic Opera Company in 1944 and the New York City Operetta Company, 1944 to 1945. During this time, she and five friends created a group called the Ballet Maniacs, a group of dancers doing satires on classical ballet in theaters on the East Coast during World War II. One favorite memory was when she danced with Gene Kelly in an off-Broadway production.
Madge retired from Grand Traverse Industries in 1996 where she’d spent 20 years connecting persons with disabilities with employment opportunities. She was most proud of her family and loved her role as a mom and grandmother, and spent many years at home raising her three children. She was a fun, loving mother who taught lessons about life through a variety of creative means. Her way of raising children was not always traditional, but her children learned so much from her through her unconventional parenting style. They became independent, caring, spiritual beings because of the influence of their mother.
Madge was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; son, Daniel; mother, Madge; and father, Thomas.
She is survived by her son, Frank and fiancée, Mary; daughter, Amy Moore; son-in-law, Jim Moore; and six grandchildren, Emily, Jordan, Garrett, Danny, Melissa and Jenna.
Madge attended Christ the King Catholic Church in Acme, where her funeral will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. Friends and family may gather at 10 a.m. at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Disability Network of Northern Michigan or the Salvation Army.
Memories can be shared with the family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Arrangements for the funeral are through Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City.