Darlene Joy Grunke Sanders

September 10, 1943 - July 20, 2020


Darlene Joy Grunke Sanders, 76, of Nordland, Washington passed away of natural causes in her home and was found on July 20, 2020.

Darlene was born on Sept. 10, 1943 in Norfolk, Nebraska to Leal and Ruth (Benson) Grunke. They lived in Glendale and Chowchilla, California before Leal proposed the idea to the War Assets Administration that the former Camp McQuaide, the decommissioned U.S. Army camp, located in Watsonville, Calif. be transformed into a school. The proposal was accepted and the Grunke family were the first civilians to live on the former military camp after World War II. In 1949, it became Monterey Bay Academy, a vibrant Christian boarding high school that continues today. Darlene’s connection to the school became all-encompassing to her.

After living by the Pacific Ocean, Darlene lived in Glendale and Simi Valley, Calif. In 1962, she was graduated from Newbury Park Academy. Darlene attended La Sierra College, Pacific Union College and Campus Adventiste du Salève in Collonges-sous-Salève, France. In 1967, she was graduated from Walla Walla College with a degree in English and a minor in history.

Darlene taught at Seattle Junior Academy and at Kirkland Adventist School before marrying Dean Sanders on Dec. 29, 1968 in Simi Valley. In March 1974, they moved from Simi Valley with their two young daughters to a home on Marrowstone Island where Darlene lived until her death.

Darlene was a member of the Port Townsend Seventh-day Adventist Church, Nordland Garden Club and the Marrowstone Island Community Association. She served on the board of directors for Port Townsend’s Thea Foss Lodge #45 Daughters of Norway and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. During the years, Darlene was involved with the Christian Women’s Club and Port Townsend’s Community Chorus. She enjoyed singing “The Messiah” in the chorus’ original performance in 1975 and again in 2010. She had worked at THE BIBLE IN LIVING SOUND, a nonprofit organization also started by her father, and for some years in daycare at Cedarbrook Adventist Christian School.

Darlene was an avid collector, with prolific and eclectic collections. These included antiques, cruet sets, wooden wheelchairs, books, art, silver spoons, teacups, dishes, clothes, instruments, Dr. Pepper memorabilia, sand samples from beaches around the world, etc. She was also enticed by Paris, travel, shopping, drama, Shakespeare, literature, anything French and her interests continued. In the late 1800s, her maternal grandparents emigrated from Norway to Oregon and she enjoyed anything relating to her Norwegian heritage. She was intrigued by genealogy and researched her Norwegian family tree back to the 1400s. She corresponded with and knew her relatives in Norway and her oldest daughter was married in Norway. Darlene enjoyed photography and chronicled the years in immaculately journaled and detailed family photo albums. Darlene was a wordsmith, had her own unique sense of style and was very witty. 

Darlene is survived by her daughter, Julie Sanders Keymer, and son-in-law, Marshall Keymer, Walla Walla, Wash.; daughter, Holly Roderick, and granddaughters, Tasia Roderick and Lola Flannery, Vancouver, Wash.

Darlene was preceded in death by her parents; son-in-law, Curtis Roderick. Darlene was divorced in 2006.

Internment was beside Darlene’s parents’ and her paternal grandparents’ graves in Portland, Oregon.