by Greg Lindberg
Jeannette Farquhar Sanders, born Jan. 4, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pa., went home to be with the Lord on June 14, 2020 in Clearwater, Fla. Survived by her husband, Donald Sr., she passed away just days before their 53rd wedding anniversary.
Don and Jeanne have two children, Maria (married to Chris) Anderson and Don Jr. (married to Donna) Sanders. They also have five grandchildren – Jessica and Erika Anderson, and Kelsey, Carlee, and Travis Sanders.
Jeanne spent her early years in Camden, N.J., where she attended several schools as well as sight-saving classes. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and began working in a bookbindery. Eventually, she moved to a career as a house mother at several children’s homes, including the Overbrook School for the Blind.
Jeanne met her future husband at Camp Marcella, a camp in New Jersey for blind children, where she had a summer job and Don was a camper. They met, became friends, kept in touch over the years, reconnected as adults, and were married June 25, 1967. The couple bought their first home in Trenton, N.J. in 1968. In 1976, they moved to Bordentown, N.J., where they lived until retirement.
Jeanne’s children have fond memories of the Mercer County Association of the Blind and Handicapped meetings and the many summer weeks and winter weekends spent at the Spring Valley Camp for the Blind in New York. She was a member of the New Jersey Council of the Blind and served as its president for several years. She was the head of the Consumer Advisory Board for the New Jersey Commission for the Blind for several years and served on multiple committees for that agency.
Jeanne boldly testified for handicapped access when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was being drafted in New York City. She also served on the New Jersey Governor’s Commodity and Services Council.
Jeanne became active with the American Council of the Blind in the 1980s and attended several national conventions. In 1988, she convinced Don to accompany her to the ACB conventions. Together, they enjoyed many years of activism and travel.
Also around 1988, after years of volunteering, Jeanne accepted a position as a client services representative at the Johnstone Training and Research Center in Bordentown, N.J. She was able to be a voice for the voiceless as she served the mentally handicapped resident population of Johnstone.
In 1993, Jeanne and Don retired and moved to Clearwater, Fla. After relocating, the couple joined both the Pinellas and Florida Councils of the Blind and relished the friendships from those associations.
The Sanders family would like to thank the members of the Florida and Pinellas Councils of the Blind who shared stories and helped us memorialize her at the virtual meeting of the Pinellas Council of the Blind on June 20, 2020. She was remembered as friendly to visitors and new members, as she wanted everyone to feel welcome and comfortable at meetings. Jeanne was also remembered as a fierce advocate, unafraid to share a minority opinion and willing to step up to the microphone, regardless of the size of an audience. She is greatly missed.