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 Chandlerfuneralhome.com