Edel Elise Ayers Sanguinetti


Edel Elise Ayers Sanguinetti, acclaimed novelist and member of Alabama's legendary newspaper publishing family, died Sunday. She was 90. Visitation will be today from 5-7 p.m. at K.L. Brown Memory Chapel in Anniston. A memorial service will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston. The Rev. Dr. Lee Shafer will officiate. Mrs. Sanguinetti was born in Anniston on Jan. 24, 1924, to Harry Mell Ayers, owner and publisher of The Anniston Star, and Edel Ytterboe Ayers. She attended grammar school in Anniston. She graduated from Ashley Hall, a girls college preparatory school in Charleston, S.C., in 1942. She studied at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., before transferring to the University of Alabama, where she graduated in 1947 with a bachelor of arts, majoring in French and minoring in English and history. While at the University of Alabama, Mrs. Sanguinetti studied creative writing under Dr. Hudson Strode. She was a classmate of Harper Lee, the novelist who went on to pen "To Kill A Mockingbird." While on campus, the pair edited a University of Alabama humor magazine, "The Rammer-Jammer." Mrs. Sanguinetti was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. In 1948, she studied at the University of Oslo in Norway. In 1950, she married Phillip Sanguinetti. The couple lived in Germany, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. They settled in Anniston in the 1960s. Mrs. Sanguinetti was a reporter and feature writer for The Anniston Star from 1948 until 1955. Mrs. Sanguinetti's novels focused primarily on matters of class in the South. Her works include "The Last of the Whitfields" (1962), "The New Girl" (1964), "The Dowager" (1968) and "McBee's Station" (1971). In a 1983 Anniston Star article, Mrs. Sanguinetti dismissed the potential benefits of living among other accomplished writers. "I think a lot of good writers have been ruined that way," she said. "They worry about what others think of their writing, and less about what they want to do. I can't think of anything more awful than being around a bunch of writers all the time ... they can really be creeps." "If you're good enough, you'll write," she added. "It doesn't matter where you live." She found rich source material in her Southern hometown. "There are 9,000 Southern accents. There are 9,000 Souths," she said in 1982. In 1962 following the publication of "The Last of the Whitfields," she said: "My principal aim in writing it was to make the kind of plea for the South. And to try, with humor if possible, to give at least one Southerner's viewpoint of the modern-day South, a viewpoint I felt had been neglected by our more celebrated novelists and journalists." In the September 1960 issue of Mademoiselle magazine, Mrs. Sanguinetti's short story "To You Freré Twig" was published. Mademoiselle's editors said in an introduction that Mrs. Sanguinetti "has that rare sense of humorous perception about adolescence which made 'Catcher in the Rye' a classic. Here with one of the funniest stories we've ever published, her first fiction appearance anywhere." In 1982 she was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Distinguished Authors. After the ceremony, Mrs. Sanguinetti told an Anniston Star reporter, "Writing is very consuming. You have to give up a lot. But to turn around and say, 'I'll never write again' - I could never do it. You lose yourself in it. It's a great day when a page goes well." She was given the Distinguished Alumna Award of St. Olaf College in 1993. Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Phillip A. Sanguinetti; her brother H. Brandt Ayers and his wife Josephine E. Ayers; her niece Margaret Irwin Peoples Ayers, all of Anniston; and Dr. John Sanguinetti, a nephew from Los Angeles, California. Honorary pallbearers will be Henry Agee, Scott Calhoun, Bob Davis, Dennis Dunn, Robert Jackson, Felicia Mason, Tim Wilson and Ramon Yarborough. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to Grace Episcopal Church, PO Box 1791, Anniston, AL 36202. K.L. Brown Memory Chapel 620 Golden Springs Road Anniston, AL 36207 (256)231-2334
Funeral Home
K.L. Brown Memory Chapel
620 Golden Springs Road
Anniston, AL 36207
(256) 231-2334
Funeral Home Details
Send Flowers
Published in The Anniston Star on Nov. 18, 2014
bullet Journalists