Brown-Wynne Funeral Home & Crematory

300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC


Frances Stagg Nicholson Sanders

December 10, 1929August 13, 2019

Frances Stagg Nicholson Sanders died peacefully in her sleep on August 13, 2019, at the age of 89, surrounding by her loving family. The fifth and youngest child, Stagg was born to Sterling Johnston Nicholson and Mary Washington Stagg in Durham, NC at their family home on December 10, 1929. Residing on Morehead Street, “Greystone” served as a lively residence for Stagg until she attended St. Catherine’s School and Duke University. Shortly thereafter, she married the love of her life and childhood sweetheart, Bill Sanders.

A faithful steward to her North Carolinian community, Stagg placed high value on the ideals of friendship, hospitality, community, and gratitude for the blessings she was afforded. She joined the Raleigh Junior League in 1955, was a member of the first Docent class of the North Carolina Museum of Art, President of Rex Hospital Guild Board and a devoted volunteer. Stagg served as the Chair of the Wake Committee of the North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames, an organization devoted to historic preservation and patriotic services. She was also chair of the Girls Committee and honorary chair for the North Carolina Terpsichorean Club Debutante Ball. Stagg’s greatest joy was spending time with family and friends at her home in Morehead City. Always with a smile, Stagg had a full and vibrant life filled with love and laughter. She enjoyed the salt air and sunshine, and loved boating on the Harem with Bill and their girls. She always loved having her dogs nearby as well as her many wonderful friends.

She will be greatly missed by her family: her daughters, Stagg Sanders Madry and husband Randall; Mildred Sanders Pilkington; Elizabeth "Marsha" Sanders Ragsdale and husband David; and Mary Duke Grubbe and husband, Fredrick; her grandchildren, Randall Hayden Hathaway Madry Jr. and wife Sarah; Elizabeth Ashley Pilkington; Kristen Pilkington Steidle and husband Brian; Katherine Sanders McNamara; Michael Joseph McNamara; William Marsh McNamara, William Sanders Grubbe and Sarah Stagg Grubbe; her brother, William Henry Nicholson and wife Miriam; and sister Elizabeth Nicholson MacManus. She was predeceased by her husband, William Marsh Sanders III in 1994; brother, Sterling Johnston Nicholson; and sister, Mary Washington Nicholson McCormick.

A visitation will be held at the Carolina Country Club, 2500 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, on Sunday, August 18, 2019, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 am, Monday, August 19, 2019 at Holy Trinity Church, 100 East Peace St., Raleigh, with a reception following in the church parish hall. A private burial will be held at Oakwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Transitions LifeCare, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607, or a beneficiary of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.


  • Transitions LifeCare


  • Visitation Sunday, August 18, 2019
  • Memorial Service Monday, August 19, 2019


Frances Stagg Nicholson Sanders

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