Cover photo for Dorothy Rose Sanders's Obituary
Dorothy Rose Sanders Profile Photo

Dorothy Rose Sanders

March 8, 1936 — September 21, 2023

Indianapolis

Dorothy Rose Sanders

 

Dorothy Rose (Burnett) Sanders was born March 8, 1936, to the late Maggie Thomas Cunningham and Jimmy Burnett in Cairo, Illinois. An only child, Dorothy was raised by her maternal grandparents, the late Willie and Katie Jefferson in Cairo where she attended grade school and Sumner High School. In 1952, Thurgood Marshall, Special Counsel for the N.A.A.C.P and a team of prominent civil rights attorneys spoke at Mount Moriah Baptist Church where Dorothy’s family were faithful members. Dorothy agreed to integrate Cairo High School as a part of a select group of Sumner students. In the fall of 1953, Dorothy was the lone black student who enrolled for classes. She endured extreme prejudice and horrific racism, yet she remained determined and persevered. In 1954, she and a second black student became the first black persons to ever graduate from Cairo High School.

On April 15, 1959, she married Joe L. Sanders in Indianapolis. Dorothy and Joe’s union was blessed with eight children: Jacqueline Kay, Joel, Larry, William, Darryl, Eunita, Michelle, and Bryan. Over course of the next 23 years, the family moved frequently due to Joe’s military career. Dorothy would make every move an adventure for the family and was always able to make the base quarters feel like home. While stationed in Baumholder Germany, she “packed the family up” and traveled to many renowned European countries, creating priceless family memories. Upon Joe’s retirement from the US Army, they along with their youngest children, moved back to Indianapolis in 1982.

Dorothy professed her love for Christ at an early age and always found a bible-based church home in each of the various military bases the family lived. In 1982, shortly after her return to Indianapolis, she joined Second Baptist Church where she served faithfully in a variety of ministries, providing guidance and words of wisdom to anyone who needed it. She excelled at all things culinary. Baking, frying, or grilling, there was no dish that Ms. Dee could not cook. She was always willing to share her cooking gift with the Church and her family as she truly believed that not only did a good meal feed the soul, but serving great food was also her way of showing and giving love. Her holiday tables were legendary.

Dorothy worked for Winston Janitorial Service in a multitude of roles for 14 years, lastly as operations manager at the Naval Avionics Center. In 1996, she left and worked as a kitchen manager for the Hawthorne Center until her “retirement” 2 years later. Her true vocation was being the world’s best mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, devoting herself to ensuring that her children and her grandkids were always fed, cared for, and above all else, protected. She loved and she was loved.

On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Our Heavenly Father called Dorothy Rose home to rest peacefully in His loving arms. She was preceded in death by her eldest son, Kenneth Cunningham.

Dorothy leaves to cherish her memory, her loving husband of 67 years, Joe L Sanders; daughters, Jaqueline Kay, Nita (Peter) and Michelle; sons, Joel (Claudia), Larry (Demeathra), William, Darryl, and Bryan (Dana); brother-in-law Welthie Sanders, Jr (Oknae); sister-in-law Minnie Wilkerson (Charles), 22 grandchildren; 24 great grandchildren; and host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

 

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Past Services

Visitation

Friday, September 29, 2023

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, September 29, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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