MATTOON -- “Sweet lady.” That is the way countless people described Emma Jean Sanders, 92, of Mattoon, who passed away on May 20, 2019 at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. She was born on December 10, 1926 at home in Shelby County to Boyd, Sr., and Leota Bridges. They, two brothers, and her husband preceded her in death.
Funeral Services honoring her life will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019 at Schilling Funeral Home with Pastor Adam Jacobsen officiating. Burial will follow at Dodge Grove Cemetery. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service on Friday at the funeral home.
Emma was the 4th of six siblings and the oldest girl. She graduated from Strasburg High School in 1944. Emma married Karl R. Sanders on December 25, 1947 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mattoon where she remained a member until her death. Her sister, Jeanne Bridges, and his brother, Paul Sanders, were their attendants. A bookkeeper most of her adult life, Emma retired from Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1986. Emma was a devoted wife for 45 years until her husband’s death in 1992. Emma and Karl built a home in rural Mattoon in 1961 where she remained until 2016 when she moved to assisted living.
She and Karl had one daughter, Karla Sanders of Charleston, IL. Emma was a selfless and involved mother, insisting on being room mother multiple years during Karla’s elementary days and taking joy in hosting parties and sleepovers.
Emma is survived by her daughter, her sisters Jeanne Ferguson of Mattoon and Ann Terry (George) of Abingdon, IL; her brother, James Bridges (Barbara) of Windsor, IL, and many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces, and nephews. Emma loved nothing more than spending time with her family; she especially enjoyed teasing her siblings and reminiscing about growing up on the family farm.
An active person, Emma loved being out in nature; she enjoyed fishing—especially on the small lake behind her home. For years, she and Karl grew a big garden, and she would can fruits and vegetables. In her later years, she enjoyed sitting on her porch and visiting with friends and neighbors. She never met a stranger and always found the good in everyone. Although she was extremely honest and sweet in temperament, she had a mischievous streak as evidenced by her blatant and unrepentant attempts to cheat various friends and family members while playing hearts or canasta. Her daughter would frequently remark that had she lived in the Old West, she would have been summarily shot over a game of cards. To which she would remark, “Oh, Karla,” and smile.
Emma Sanders was a kind and gentle soul, who was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.
Memorial donations in her honor may be given to the American Diabetes Association or the Mattoon Food Pantry. Online condolences may be expressed at www.schillingfuneralhome.net or Schilling Funeral Home’s Facebook page.