William M. (Bill) Sanders, 77, of Maple Park, died unexpectedly following heart surgery on Nov. 26, 2009.
He was born Dec. 17, 1931, the son of William Lawrence and Elizabeth Jane (McCabe) Sanders in DeKalb.
Bill grew up in Maple Park, where he graduated from Maple Park High School in 1949. Bill began what has become a long standing family tradition of distance running by setting the school record for the mile run. Billâ€™s love of the outdoors was kindled by his father with frequent trips â€œnorthâ€ to their favorite fishing lakes.
Following high school, he attended barber college in Chicago and practiced his trade in the same shop operated by his father. For the next 20 years, Sandersâ€™ Barber Shop would be not only a place for a trim and a shave, but also a place to learn the latest town news, hear the best jokes and to play a friendly game of billiards in the pool hall in back.
Bill met the love of his life, Ilene (Ike) Ryan at the DeKalb roller skating rink. Their 56-year marriage began on Nov. 14, 1953, at St. Maryâ€™s Catholic Church in DeKalb.
Bill and Ilene made their home in Maple Park, where they raised not only their own three children; but, as was the tradition in mid-western small towns, they played a role in the lives of many of the neighborhood kids as well.
While running his barber shop, Bill often made calls to shut-ins at their homes and the sick at the hospital. In the middle 1970s, Bill set aside his clippers and picked up hammer and nails, working as a carpenter until his retirement in 1994. He would often be found helping neighbors, friends and family with their construction projects well into his retirement.
Billâ€™s many interests included many close friendships. He was especially fond of the North Woods, in particular Michiganâ€™s Upper Peninsula, where he hunted, fished, camped and snowmobiled for more than 50 years. Bill was always eager to share his interests with others, especially the young neighborhood kids. He became an accomplished archer, wining many competitions, and was a successful deer hunter. Bill was also an avid golfer. In retirement, he and Ike spent many happy days in the company of their friends in Mercedes, Texas and Sardis, Miss., where they could golf, fish and enjoy their friendships in warmer climes. Billâ€™s kindness and friendship has deeply touched the lives of many people, and he will be terribly missed for a very long time.
Bill was a volunteer Maple Park fireman for many years, dashing out of the barbershop, sometimes with a half finished haircut in the chair when the call for help was sounded. He was also a charter member of the Kishwaukee Archers and the Maple Park Lions Club.
He now leaves his loving wife, Ike Sanders; three children, Susan (Tim) Sanders-Norris of Sugar Grove, Sally (Tim) Kennedy of Maple Park and Bill (Noreen Heitman) Sanders of Marquette, Mich.; six grandchildren, Carrie (Chris) Sanchez of Gilbert, Ariz., Henry Norris of Maple Park, Will Sanders of Marquette, Mich., Mickey Sanders of Marquette, Mich., Tom Kennedy of Maple Park, Elizabeth Kennedy of Maple Park; one great-granddaughter, Alyson Sanchez; one sister, Jane Ryan of Bourbonnais, Ill.; one brother, Jim (Mary) Sanders of Tucson, Ariz.; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Bill now joins his parents; one sister, Helen (Ike) Lawson; one brother, Tom Sanders; and one brother-in-law, Terry Ryan, who preceded him in death.
Visitation was Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A mass to celebrate his life was held Dec. 2, with a time of visitation preceding the service at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, Maple Park. Fr. Joachim Tyrtania, pastor of the church, officiated, and interment followed at St. Maryâ€™s Cemetery.
A memorial has been established in Billâ€™s name to benefit his favorite charities, including the Maple Park Lions Club. Checks may be made to the â€œBill Sanders Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or made at www.conleycare.com.