On Monday, October 7, 2019, the world lost a good friend and an extraordinary human being when Donald M. Sanders, 60, of Hyattsville, MD, lost his life to cancer. In the words of one of his many close friends, "The world has less humor, less biting observation, and less appropriate indignation than it did a day ago." When speaking of Don, the words "force of nature" are frequently used, and it would be hard to underestimate the impact this amazing and boundless spirit had on those fortunate enough to have known him. He was truly larger than life, a man whose easy confidence gave others confidence, whose passions-for art and politics, cats and conversation, great food and good IPAs- fueled others' passions, and whose innate gentleness put everyone around him immediately at ease.
Don was born on May 23, 1959 to Richard M. and Melba Watts Sanders in Tuscaloosa AL and raised in Huntsville. AL. As at home on the stage as he was in the world, he received a full theatre scholarship to Birmingham Southern College and obtained his MFA in filmmaking from American University in Washington, D.C. He began his professional career at the Close Up Foundation in Alexandria, VA, where he created videos that encouraged high school students to come to the nation's capital to meet their representatives and learn about government. His interest in politics led him to a Creative Director role at a political communications consulting firm in D.C., which eventually became MacWilliams Sanders Communications.
Don is survived by Janis Hopper Sanders, his wife of 36 years and partner in life, laughter, and delight in all things theatre, movie, and television related; his mother, Melba; brothers, Richard "Dick" (Jan) and William "Dean" (Rebecca); several nieces and nephews; and friends too numerous to count. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard M. Sanders.
A remembrance will be held Saturday, October 26, 2019 at Magnolia Trace, 1 Clubhouse Avenue SW, Huntsville, AL. Visitation with family will begin in the Magnolia Room at 11:00 am, followed by a brief service at 11:30. An informal celebration of Don's life will also be held at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD on November 8.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in Don's memory may be made to University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, www.ummsfoundation.org/give; A Tree Instead, www.atreeinstead.com; or (for his crab-loving local friends...you know who you are!) Chesapeake Bay Foundation, https://www.cbf.org.