Our beloved mother, Ramona Jean Sanders, died on Jan. 1 in Atascadero, Calif., at the age of 98.
Born on July 11, 1922, in Jefferson as Ramona Jean Richey, she was a strong-minded but gentle girl. Her family always had plenty to eat from the farm they lived and worked on, despite the Great Depression in the middle of her young life. Baby pigs were kept each spring for bottle feeding behind the warm kitchen stove.
Along with her two brothers and one sister, our mother’s energy must have kept her family hopping; she is said to have plowed a field as an 11-year-old with a team of horses. Besides farming, she learned to sew, play piano and even sketched a bit, these being functional and artsy skills which enriched and inspired our lives.
At 19, our mom moved to the Golden State, where she met up with a few Iowan girlfriends and started a new life as a secretary. A stint of two years as a civilian secretary for the U.S. Army occupation and reconstruction in Japan broadened her sense of the world after World War II.
Forever seeking to know more, while a “stay-at-home mom,” she took classes in astronomy on TV and at the local community college in other subjects. Later, she volunteered tirelessly with the Tujunga United Methodist Church Women’s Club, as well as carrying on a career as a legal secretary.
In her final years, she joined the Atascadero United Methodist Church. She could be seen some of those last days brightening up lunchtime chats with fellow residents of the Atascadero Christian Home by sharing images of the universe from a book on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Our mother lovingly raised a family of four lively kids — Jeff, April, Mark and Kim — who embody her soul in their own ways of being. Beyond us, she is survived by 12 others: Judy, Gabriel, Eva, Lindsey, Kayden, Sally, Jim, Sofia, Julia, Henry, Brady and Andrew. Her great-niece Starr Ann had been like a daughter to her for many years now.
Throughout her life, people who met her would say, “She is just so sweet.” We know that a bit of her nature cheered up everyone around her, making the world a better place.
She was truly the sweetest mom in the world. Maybe in the universe. Now she is giving back in the final possible way, to the earth from which she came. We rejoice in this process!