Obituary: Barbara Arnquist Sanderson, longtime Ridgefield resident

Barbara Arnquist Sanderson, longtime Ridgefield resident, passed away Jan. 26 at her home in Naples, Florida, after a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer, which she fought with both courage and grace. Her passing was peaceful and came just after her entire family had been with her to express their love and say their goodbyes.

Included in that gathering were her survivors Richard Sanderson, husband of 48 years; son Brian Sanderson and wife Stacy of Lake Bluff, Illinois; son Bradley Sanderson of Ridgefield; daughter Julie Sanderson and partner Ryan Skinner of South Royalton, Vermont; grandchildren Chase, Kyle, and Beverly Sanderson of Lake Bluff and Daphne, Gwen, and Damon Sanderson of Ridgefield; sisters Betty Arnquist of San Francisco, California and Nancy Bucciero of Wake Forest, North Carolina; and sister-in-law Sue and brother-in-law Phil Billings of Annville, Pennsylvania.

Barbara was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on June 27, 1948. She graduated from the University of Michigan where she met future husband Richard during her freshman year. She was an elementary school teacher for five years before “retiring to work full time” for her family. However, she never lost her education skills, using them to teach friends and peers how to play her beloved game of bridge at her Silver Spring Country Club “class” in Ridgefield, where she was a member since 1987. In Naples she loved playing in several bridge groups at Kensington Country Club where she was a member for the last five years.

Barbara enjoyed all kinds of sports. In her younger years she was a skier and tennis player, but later gave those up in favor of golf. She was known for her consistent, straight-down-the-middle drives, a true metaphor of how she lived her life. She belonged to the Silver Spring ladies golf group, serving as secretary for many years. Her weekly game with “The Divas” at Kensington in Naples was the highlight of her Florida schedule. She was a voracious reader and belonged to three book clubs. She also loved to travel, always trying to do research and hear lectures beforehand to better understand the cultures of the places she would be visiting.

For all Barbara’s activities, however, personal relationships were the focus of her life. Friends remember her as bright, enthusiastic, optimistic, and one of the kindest, most caring people they have ever known. And at the center was always family. In recent years more frequent trips to see that family in Connecticut, Illinois, and Vermont, along with hosting reunions in Florida, largely replaced travel to faraway places. It was a good trade, since nothing gave her more pleasure and satisfaction than spending time with her children and getting to know — and develop close relationships with — her grandchildren.

Barbara was a member of both the Naples United Church of Christ and the First Congregational Church of Ridgefield. Memorial services will be held at both churches at future dates. These dates, as well as suggestions for charitable donations in Barbara’s name, will be posted at the website, within a week.