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Marian Gondring Sanders
1924 - 2023

Marian Gondring Sanders passed away on February 8th at the age of 98 after a long full life ending with a prolonged, gradual decline. 

Born in Modesto, CA, on May 20, 1924, the 2nd child of Ceres Postmaster, John M. Gondring and Margaret W. Gondring, she grew up in Ceres. 

She graduated from Ceres H.S. class of 1942 where she was active in many student groups, including CSF, the ukulele club, and student government. 

Despite being accepted to Stanford University, she attended San Jose State College and became an Occupational Therapist. 

She worked at Modesto State Hospital, now MJC West, until she was finally convinced to marry former HS classmate, James A. Sanders, who had returned from the war, WWII. 

They married in 1948, and began their family in ’49 with the birth of son, Timothy, followed in ’52 by daughter, Anne, then sons, Marc (‘53) and Michael(’56). 

She was a great mother: dedicated and caring, always there with a word of encouragement or a kick in the rear depending on what was needed.

After more than 20 years at home and occasional substitute teaching, she returned to work at MJC East library once her youngest was in high school, where she worked for a further two decades. 

In addition to her family, she served the community and was active in Modesto Garden Club, PEO, Turlock Exchange Club, Modesto Commemorative Air Force and the Ceres Historical Society at various times.

Additionally, she was able to indulge her love of travel throughout her life. From a trip to Brazil when the children were younger to accompanying an elderly aunt, Frances Gondring, to Russia and other European destinations, her travels took her around the world. 

Together with Jim, she traveled to China, England and other foreign destinations. 

They also enjoyed taking their grandchildren to various US points of interest, and in 2002, they took a large group of family to the Normandy beaches in France and other WWII sites. 

In 2006, she traveled to her fifth continent when she and Jim visited the Serengeti Park in Tanzania, Africa.

Despite her many trips abroad, she was most at home tending her beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetable garden and watching her family grow. 

While on the surface her life was typical of women of her era, she had the intelligence, integrity and commitment equal to CEOs of today.

She dedicated her life and many talents to her husband and her family, for which we are all the better.

Marian is preceded in death by husband of almost 70 years, Jim, her parents, Postmaster John M. and Margaret Gondring, and her brother, Robert. 

She leaves behind four children; Tim (Susan), Anne (Scott), Marc (Jeanette), and Michael, 11 grandchildren: AmyCecilia (Hushrav), Rebecca (Eric), Maria, Joanna (Michael), Elizabeth, Matt (Cristen), Jefferson (Stephanie), Leah (James), Nicholas, James, and Michael and 18 great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to sincerely thank all the caregivers and staff at Bethel Retirement Community and Community Hospice. There is no doubt your compassion and excellent care extended Marian’s life. 

There will be a memorial service at a later date. Memorial gifts can be made to Community Hospice, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Commemorative Air Force or a charity of your choice.