Lillian Garrison Sanders
Lillian Garrison Sanders
Dec. 5, 1912-July 15, 2011
Lillian was born Dec. 5, 1912, in Tecumseh, Okla., to Madison and Malvina Kennedy. Lillian spent her youth at the Sacred Heart boarding school for Native American Indian girls, which was established on the Citizen Band Potawotami Indian reservation near Asher, Okla., in 1877. Lillian was an outstanding student and devout Catholic and graduated high school there.
Married to Warren Garrison on Oct. 31, 1931, in Geary, Okla., Lillian spent the next decade share-cropping cotton and other crops with her husband.
Lillian came to California in 1942, by train, with her two young children and baby to join her husband at the beginning of the World War II industrial effort. Lillian recalled the soldiers on the train being very attentive and excited about her baby son. When Lillian reached California, her first job was at Mare Island Naval Shipyard working as the proverbial "Rosie the Riveter."
After the war in 1946, Lillian began her career at Sonoma State Home/Hospital where she was one of the first Garrisons to work at the hospital. This was the beginning of a six-decade family tradition of dedication to the clients of what is now known as the Sonoma Developmental Center. Lillian retired in 1973 as senior psychiatric technician.
Lillian married her second husband, James Sanders, in 1973, several years after the passing of her first husband, Warren Garrison.
Some of the most important accomplishments in Lillian's life were achieved as a very active member of St. Leo's Catholic Church. Described by Father Donahue as a "parish legend," Lillian was a founding member of the Lady's Guild. Lillian had a passion for organizing events and decorating the church and its halls.
The east wing of St. Leo's Church was renamed in her honor after her countless hours of service. Lillian also tirelessly solicited and collected food donations from local merchants to ensure plenty of food supply for the hungry being provided by both St. Vincent DePaul and FISH.
Recently, Lillian was also honored as an elder of the Citiizen Band Potawatomi Nation at their annual Western Powwow in Napa.
Lillian is preceded in death by her loving daughter, Rita; first-husband, Warren Garrison; second husband, James Sanders; mother and father; six brothers and five sisters.
Lillian is survived by her son, Warren Garrison, and his wife, Dorothy, of Sonoma; her son, Charles Garrison and his wife, Peggy, of McKinleyville; her son-in-law, Thomas Gregory, and his wife, Joan, of Palo Alto; and her step-daughter, Beverly Rushing, and her husband, Tom, of Valley Springs. Lillian is also survived by her 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren
Lillian, our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, the "glue" that keeps our family together, we love you and will miss you.
Friends are invited to attend funeral services on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. at Duggan's Mission Chapel, 525 W. Napa St., thence to St. Leo's Catholic Church where a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Vigil at Duggan's Mission Chapel Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Entombment will follow at Mountain Cemetery. Visitation at Duggan's on Tuesday after noon to 8 p.m.