Richard Paulett Sanger
1930 - 2020
{ "" }
Share Richard's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Richard Paulett Sanger

Wilmington - Richard Paulett Sanger, age 89, passed away on April 20, 2020.

Born in 1930, in Norwalk, CT, the youngest child of Frank Moderno Sanger and Elisabeth Hoge Paulett. He spent his early childhood in Watertown, NY, moving to Delaware with his family in 1939.

Sanger attended the old Alfred I. du Pont School in Talleyville and graduated from Wilmington Friends School with the class of 1948. At Friends, he edited the Whittier Miscellany, a literary magazine, and jumped center for the school's state championship-winning basketball team. In 1952, he graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, where he edited The Cardinal, a literary magazine, and was president of his fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi.

On the hockey field at Friends, he met Maggie Marvel, Tatnall School's formidable goalie. The romance blossomed, continued through college days, and in 1953, Margaret Marvel and Richard Sanger were married at Trinity Church in Wilmington. In time, the marriage produced three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Sanger went to work as a reporter for Wilmington's old Journal-Every Evening in the summer of 1952 and, with one interruption while he worked in Washington as a Congressional aide, spent the next 24 years with the Wilmington newspapers in various editorial assignments. In 1970, he was elected president of the News-Journal Corporation and editor-in-chief of the two newspapers it then published. He left the company in 1975 after a public disagreement with its owner, a du Pont family holding company, over the future of the newspaper business in Wilmington.

In 1976, Sanger founded TRIAD, the Trinity Alcohol and Drug program, as a ministry of Trinity Church. Still located at Trinity but now an independent agency, that program has become TRIAD Addiction Recovery Services, an important outpost in the community's struggle to come to grips with the major public health crisis of our time. In recovery himself since 1975, Sanger was widely known around Alcoholics Anonymous as "Dixie", a nickname coined when he pitched for Friends School's baseball team.

Maggie Sanger had been selling residential real estate since the 1960's, and after several years as TRIAD's executive director, Dixie joined her in what became one of the first husband-and-wife real estate teams in Delaware. They worked for B. Gary Scott Realtors and successor organizations, including Prudential Preferred Properties and Prudential Fox & Roach. They spent the last years of their real-estate careers with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International Realty in Centreville.

Sanger has been a trustee of Wilmington University since 1971, and was a former alumni trustee of Wesleyan. He was a long-time chairman of Wilmington University's Student and Alumni Affairs Committee. An incorporator of the old Greater Wilmington Development Council, he chaired that organization's education committee for several years and was instrumental in assuring that Delaware Technical and Community College would have an urban campus as well as a suburban one.

Sanger was a former vestryman and senior warden of Trinity Church. He was a former chair of the Diocese of Delaware's communications department, and first editor of Communion, the Diocesan news publication. For years, he was a member of the Diocesan department of ministries. In the 1980's, Maggie and Dixie transferred their membership to Christ Church Christiana Hundred, where Dixie was a long-standing member of the Thursday morning Bible study group.

In his younger years, Dixie enjoyed golf and fishing. On his best day off Ocean City, MD, he returned with seven flags flying, having hooked and released that number of white marlin. He and Maggie spent many happy hours fresh-water fly-fishing for trout and salmon in the Rangeley Lakes of Maine and across the height of land in Canada. He vacationed with family in Bethany Beach and Lewes, in Delaware, and in Boca Grande, FL, a resort he and Maggie first visited as newlyweds in 1954.

In addition to Maggie, he is survived by three children: Christopher Dick Sanger (Jane Biggs) of Wilmington, Peter Marvel Sanger (Mary Jane Macintire) of Boca Grande, FL, and Molly (Margaret) Sanger Carpenter (S. Preston Carpenter) of Salem, NJ; seven grandchildren: Anne, Mary, Lucinda, Jackson and Andrew Sanger, Benjamin (Victoria Molnar), and Margaret Carpenter (Lamar Shafer); four great-granddaughters: Adella and Eloise Carpenter, and Coralis and Eliza Shafer. Dixie's siblings, Capt. Frank M. Sanger, Jr. (USN) of Falls Church, VA, and Elisabeth Paulett Sanger (Mrs. William G. Moeckel) of Wilmington, died some years ago.

A memorial service will be at Christ Church Christiana Hundred at a later date after restrictions from COVID-19 are lifted.

For online condolences and updated service information, please visit

Published in The News Journal from Apr. 21 to Apr. 26, 2020.
No events have been scheduled at this time. Check back later or contact the funeral home for more information.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Chandler Funeral Homes & Crematory
Not sure what to say?
22 entries
April 29, 2020
Thank you for your friendliness, your greeting smile and your affable sense of humor and your solid sense of recovery. Your presence will be missed, a void that only you could fill. My condolences to Maggie and the family.
Gary Maxwell
April 27, 2020
Dixie helped so many people its hard to say anything new. But he gave me a suggestion once that literally changed the course of my career and life. He was my mentor and friend. My fondest condolences to Maggie and the family.
Carolyn Wolf
Carolyn Wolf
April 27, 2020
Dixie was in a class of his own. He was on the front line fighting the Disease of Alcoholism and will be remembered as a light leading the way of others to a life of recovery. Loved being at gatherings with him or just hanging out at coffee at the Brew. We will all better off because of his life's work.
Ted Lassiteer
April 25, 2020
Dixie became a friend of everyone he met. It was my pleasure to be honored as one of those friends. Dixie and Maggie were very special people and Im sure a lot of people will be keeping Dixie in their prayers.
Carol Matthews
April 25, 2020
I will miss your rabbit rabbit to let me know it was the first day of the month. RIP Mary Julian
Mary Julian
April 25, 2020
Prayers to Maggie and family, Dixie will surely be missed. Many great conversations with him and always a wonderful smile.
Karen Caputo and Avenue Cuts
April 25, 2020
May peace be with you Dixie..
April 24, 2020
My condolences Chris and Jane. Chris your Dad was always kind and welcoming to me in the different settings that I interacted with him. At his house for a party with all the well known of Delaware or in the rooms of recovery. I always enjoyed my conversations with him and he was always a gentleman.
Billy Kirlin
April 23, 2020
Dixie was a charming, delightful Gentleman! Every Sunday I received a wonderful smile and handshake from him! We truly liked each other and were bonded with humor! Sail on Dear Friend
April 23, 2020
Dixie, was a "Godsend" in my journey to sobriety,
His steady hand laid the foundation for Triad - look where we are today. We have all lost a GREAT friend -may you rest in peace - a job well done.
April 22, 2020
I had the privilege to work with Dixie in the real estate business and enjoyed his wisdom, humor and professionalism. I am so sorry to hear about his passing and send my sympathy to Maggie and their family. Rest In Peace Dixie
April 22, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
Plant Memorial Trees
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Kim Newlin
April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020
Dear MJ and Pete..My heartfelt condolences to both of you. May healing thoughts and prayers be with you.
Pat Hoar
April 22, 2020
Much love to all. I so appreciated the chance to get to know Dixie - enjoyed every minute, and I know what his family meant to him. Take care, Tracey QC
Tracey Quillen
April 22, 2020
My prayers and condolences go out to the family of Dixie. I met him last year when I had the pleasure of taking him to/from his PT appointments. He was a wonderful, intelligent, worldly, kind man. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and time together. May you rest in peace Dixie!
Kimberly Kadar
April 22, 2020
Dixie was a good friend, a kind and generous person. We have lost a good man.
John Buckley
April 22, 2020
Dixie was a gentle man who gave back to people
one day at a time. He will be forever remembered
for his writings when he was editor of the News-Journal paper

With deepest sympathy to his family,

George Brown
April 22, 2020
ane and Chris, thinking of you and yours at
Tthis difficult time
Carole Lattomus
April 22, 2020
Edward Pankowski
April 22, 2020
Dixie ,....a great person whom I knew when he worked for News Journal and later did real estate settlements with him
Edward Pankowski
April 21, 2020
A giant of a man physically and a giant in the AA community. He will be sorely missed!
Jane Evans
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences