NEW BERN - Lyla Francis Sander of New Bern, North Carolina, died January 11, 2013. After a year and a half battle with the challenges of an aging body and mind, and under the constant and devoted care of her husband, George, she passed away peacefully in the comfort of her home by the river, with the birds singing outside her window.
Born on August 11, 1924, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Lydia and Myrle L. Pardoe, her passion for giving back to her community and caring for others led her to a career in Nursing. She graduated from the Church Home and Hospital, School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD, class of 1945 as a Registered Nurse and received her psychiatric training from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She served at Woodrow Wilson General Hospital in Staunton, VA, caring for WWII soldiers returning from battle, as a Private Nurse in Tuxedo Park, NY, as a Nurse at Tuxedo Park Hospital, NY, as a Nurse at Helen Hayes Children's Hospital in Haverstraw, NY, and as Head Nurse at Ramapo Manor Nursing Home, Suffern, NY.
In addition to her nursing, Lyla participated in various community and church organizations throughout her life. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi. She worked tirelessly with a woman's sewing group at the Episcopal Church in Suffern, NY, that made comforters, shawls, lap robes and infant clothing for the Pine River Indian Reservation sponsored by the church. Once retiring to New Bern, NC, she continued her outreach by offering her considerable kitchen skills at the Religious Community Center planning and preparing meals for the homeless and needy. She assisted with the New Bern Boys Choir and sponsored and mentored one of the young boys into his teen years.
Singing was a big part of her family life, singing with her sister and brothers was a regular pastime in her upbringing and she continued the tradition with her husband, children and grandchildren. She brought her passion for music to life as an accomplished church and community choir vocalist and soloist with a beautiful soprano voice, singing with the Norfolk Symphony Chorus in Norfolk, VA, the Ridgewood Singers in Ridgewood, NJ, and the Craven Community Chorus in New Bern, NC. Music was an ever-present part of her and her husband's life together.
Lyla is remembered with great fondness for the many parties and celebrations that she and her husband hosted, as well as for being an excellent chef, home decorator and seamstress. Her dry "Pardoe" sense of humor had an infectious quality and often would change the mood a room full of sad people to a joyful crowd. She was a positive influence on all who had the good fortune to be touched by her spirit and was loved dearly by family and friends both near and far.
The world was not small for Lyla. She and her husband enjoyed travel and experiencing other cultures and places around the world. Cruising in the Islands provided her great joy, relaxation and she loved the opportunity it gave her to dance with her husband. Exploring Switzerland, Austria and the Alps first hand was a breathtaking experience for her. Their regular trips to Bermuda, navigating the narrow streets on mopeds, were a definite highlight.
More important to her than all of these accomplishments, interests and experiences, was her family. Her five children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren, as well as her extended family, were the true passion of her life. Lyla nurtured, supported and provided them each with a solid foundation for life. She relished hearing about their lives and sharing with them the stories of her life.
Lyla was preceded in death by her sister Jeanne Y. Gardner and brothers Myrle L. Pardoe Jr. and Robert (Bob) S. Pardoe.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 64 years, George E. Sander, daughters Lynn F. Cummins and Lisa J. Stearns (husband Brad), sons Gary E. Sander (wife Jean), Scott L. Sander (wife Dorothy) and John D. Sander (partner Patti), brothers C. Thompson (Tom) Pardoe (wife Frankie), David H. Pardoe (wife Elaine) and generations of nieces, nephews and extended family.
The family wishes to share their gratitude to the staff of Two Rivers Healthcare, United Hospice and Our House Home Care whose help and professionalism were critical to Lyla's care over the last year and half.
The family will be holding a visitation at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 18, at the Cotten Funeral Home, 2201 Neuse Blvd., New Bern, NC 28560
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 19, at Pollocksville Presbyterian Church, 311 Main Street, Pollocksville, NC 28573
The burial service will be Saturday, January 19 (following the funeral and reception) at New Bern Memorial Cemetery on Chelsea Road, New Bern, NC.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the following fund that provides music education for children and youth: Craven County Community Chorus, Pat Rivett Scholarship Fund (enter in memo line), P.O. Box 13704, New Bern, NC 28561.
Online condolences may be made to the Sander family at www.cottenfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by Cotten Funeral Home.
To sign our guestbook, go to newbernsj.com.