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Obituary: Jan Sander Oct. 18, 2019

on November 7, 2019 - 3:08pm

JAN SANDER Oct. 18, 2019

Jan Sander, a long-time resident of White Rock, passed away on October 18, 2019, of cancer.

She was born Janet Lee Blohm in Chicago in 1942, but soon thereafter resided in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Jan met her future husband, Oscar Sander, there playing Kick the Can” in the street that separated their childhood homes. They dated in high school, enjoyed university life, were married in 1961, and spent 58 exciting, wonderful years totally in love with each other. They were a team and did everything together

Before moving to New Mexico, Jan and her family moved 26 times. Jan took charge of these moves that started with Seattle, then the Bay area, Los Angeles, Argonne National and Brookhaven national laboratories, and interesting and challenging places such as Munich, Germany, and Geneva, Switzerland.

Jan learned German and French, which enabled her not only to address the daily needs of a household and the childrens education in foreign schools, but also to partake of the rich European culture and its spectacular sights and sounds. Among Jans special memories of Germany was hiking to an alpine hütte and drinking good German beer while eating a sausage soup and a wonderful pastry while enjoying beautiful mountain scenery. She also enjoyed standing outside the Frauenkirche listening to the peal of its bells before entering the church to hear a fantastic choir, or strolling in the pedestrian zone to the classical music of a street-side small orchestra

In 1977, the Sanders moved to White Rock, where Oscar worked at the Lab and Jan raised the children. Once they reached high school, Jan also joined the Lab. Jan, ever a stickler for detail, planned the visits of foreign scientists who came to the Lab to learn how to manage their nuclear material. Jan and Oscar retired in 1999 after rewarding careers that included many opportunities for travel to interesting countries.

Jan and Oscar lived a full and busy life, even while working full time. They often spent weekends in their pop-up trailer camping in northern New Mexico or southern Colorado. Upon their retirement, they traveled in their new fifth wheel through much of the midwest and west before settling on spending several months each summer on Whidbey Island near Seattle. They were often camp hosts and enjoyed meeting people wherever they went. Jan loved to entertain, and an invitation to one of her intimate dinner parties was always a special occasion.

In addition to cooking, outdoor activities were Jans joy. She was an avid hiker, cross-country skier, and bicycle rider. The couple enjoyed exploring Puget Sound in their double kayak and fly-fishing the San Juan River. Jan loved to travel, especially with extended family and friends, and managed to visit 25 countries. For local friends Jan organized Bike and Barge Tours in the Netherlands. She loved going to the California wine country with side trips to hike at Point Reyes and in the Redwoods.

Family came first for Jan, and she was a warm and loving person to friends as well. She loved taking her grandsons on Road Scholar Intergenerational trips. She was spirited and adventurous with an infectious laugh and beautiful smile. She volunteered at her childrens schools, the senior centers, and at the United Church Thrift Store. Her gourmet meals were a popular item in the United Church Mexico Mission Auction. She was a long-time choir member.

Jan endured a difficult battle with cancer for two and a half years and never complained. She packed a lot of living into that time and was bike riding 30-plus miles per day in Europe one month after a second chemo session. Her family and friends surrounded her in her final weeks. Her little dog, Higgins, rarely left her side.

Jan was predeceased by her son Todd Sander, parents Oscar and Olga Blohm, and sister Dawn Madsen. She is survived by her husband, Oscar; daughter, Julie Bucknam, and husband Brian; daughter-in-law, Brenda Sander; and grandsons, Travis and Austin.

Jans family wishes to thank the many thoughtful friends and relatives for the expressions of love and support given to Jan, the comforting words, the cards, the visits, and the delicious meals. 

A memorial will occur at the Los Alamos United Church after the first of next year.

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