Wiley E. Sanders

[Age 91] Raised in Roland Park, she delivered classified files for an aeronautics firm during World War II.

June 24, 2007|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,Sun reporter

Wiley Evelyn Sanders, who carried top-secret documents for an aeronautics company in a briefcase handcuffed to her wrist during World War II, died June 15 of complications from dementia at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Annapolis resident was 91.

Born Wiley Stubbs, she kept a pet skunk in the yard of her Roland Park home with her brother and sister. During the Depression, the family raised chickens and sold them to neighbors for a quarter, a daughter, Carla Garner of Annapolis, recalled. As a teenager, Mrs. Sanders became ill with whooping cough and diphtheria and was sent to an aunt's home in Western Maryland to recover. She returned to Baltimore two years later and resumed her studies.

After graduating from Seton High School in 1937, she briefly worked at the Oriole Cafeteria before taking a job in the X-ray and photography department of the Bendix Corp., a maker of aircraft equipment. During World War II, workers would photograph classified plans and manuals and place them in a briefcase that was handcuffed to Mrs. Sanders' wrist. She would then take the train to Washington or New York to deliver the documents, her daughter said.

In 1941, she married Walter E. Sanders, another Bendix employee. The family briefly lived in Hamilton, where their son, Leigh Sanders, was born. Later, they moved to Glen Arm, where Mrs. Sanders shared coffee each morning with a group of other mothers.

"It was the kind of neighborhood where you just wandered in and out of each others' houses," Mrs. Garner said. "I don't think anybody locked their doors."

Mrs. Sanders, a member of the Glen Arm Garden Club, tended a vegetable and flower garden and was especially proud of her zinnias.

She knitted, embroidered and sewed clothes for herself and her daughter, but her favorite hobby was dancing. A fan of big-band music, she enjoyed attending parties at neighbors' homes where dance instructors would teach the crowd new steps.

She worked part time at a Hutzler's department store and as a teacher's aide in Baltimore County's public schools when her children were young and took a full-time job making filters at the Filterite factory in Timonium after her husband died of cancer in 1968. After retiring in 1985, she joined the Glen Burnie lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose and the Stoney Creek Seniors Club. In 2003, she moved from Glen Arm to Annapolis to be closer to her daughter.

A memorial service is planned at 2 p.m. July 17 at St. Andrew's by the Bay Roman Catholic Church, 701 College Parkway in Annapolis.

In addition to her son, of Conowingo, and her daughter, she is survived by two grandchildren.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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