Thais “Ty” Sanders

June 27, 1932 – July 28, 2022

WASHINGTON – Thais “Ty” Sanders of Washington, IL, died peacefully on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Champaign, IL. She was born on June 27, 1932, to George Copley and Thelma Doerfler in Chicago, IL.

She married Raymond Wesley Sanders on October 7, 1951, in Streator, IL. He preceded her in death on September 6, 2016, in Morton. She was also preceded in death by her parents and stepfather, William Schallhammer.

Survivors include her three daughters: Jamie (Jim Witt) Sanders of Texas, Lynn (Bruce) Branham of Champaign and Elizabeth Sanders of Chicago. Also surviving are six grandchildren: Tara Witt of Texas, Matthew (Daphne) Branham of Missouri, Lucas (Alisha) Branham of the state of Washington, Erin (Colin) Reece of Texas, Jordan (Mamie) Branham of North Carolina and Benjamin Branham of North Carolina. Ty has five great-grandchildren: Griffin, Amelie and Sylvie Reece of Texas, Bailey Branham of the state of Washington and Simon Branham of Missouri.

Ty attended Streator High School where she excelled in drama and theater. Later in life one of her greatest joys was playing lead roles in community theater including “See How They Run” at Peoria Players and “Cactus Flower” at Cornstock. During high school she was employed as a swimming instructor at the Streator YMCA.

Early in her marriage Ty was a busy mother and housewife who volunteered regularly at her children’s schools. When her children got older, she embarked on the first of several careers when she became the swim team coach at Neptune Swim Club. During her years as coach and swim teacher, Ty impacted hundreds of children’s lives at Neptune, the Peoria YWCA and the Peoria YMCA.

In the 1970s Ty studied for and received both her realtor license and her real estate broker’s license. Afterward she worked for Circle Four Realty in Washington.

By the 1990s Ty was pursuing an entirely different career when she became a writer for the Washington Courier. Using both her considerable writing skills and her many personal and professional contacts throughout Central Illinois, Ty enjoyed success writing for the Courier and the Bloomington Pantagraph for many years.

Ty came full-circle in her careers with her last employment as a therapeutic swim instructor for Five Points Washington from 2007 to 2014.

Ty was a Tazewell County Board member for two years and a Jury Commissioner for Tazewell County for over 20 years. She was a member of Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington.

Ty lived a joyous 90 years filled with countless friendships, fulfilling work and extensive travel. She was known for keeping an immaculate house and maintaining the beautiful gardens in her backyard where she threw many memorable parties for family and friends. She was an amateur artist painting in oil, watercolor and acrylics. She devoted herself to her beloved husband of 65 years and to the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom she adored.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington, IL. Pastor Jason Woolever will officiate. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the church. Burial will be at Glendale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Crossroads United Methodist Church or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Online tributes and condolences may be made at

Published by The Pantagraph on Jul. 31, 2022.

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