Lambert Funeral Home

400 Douglas Blvd, Roseville, CA


Helen Elyse Sanders

September 20, 1930June 29, 2019

Helen Avery Sanders September 20, 1930 – June 29, 2019

Helen Avery Sanders, passed away peacefully at home, holding hands with her beloved husband Fred by her side. She lost her long battle with congestive heart failure on June 29, 2019. Helen was born on September 20, 1930 in Ukiah, CA to Clark and Elsie Avery. Soon her younger sister Norma came along. She grew up on a ranch in Sonoma County and later moved to Santa Rosa. In high school, she met her first husband, Leo Feltz, and they married in 1949, moving to Oakland to start a family. In 1964, Leo’s career took him east to Pittsburgh, then to Boston. Helen pursued her education while raising their 4 children, attending junior college and then transferring to Northeastern University to study psychology. They both missed their families in California, so in 1971 they returned to the East Bay, settling in Alamo. Helen earned her real estate brokers license in 1973, and was a very successful realtor in the San Ramon Valley for 20 years. She won many sales awards, and was an active member of the local realtor association board. In 1979, she met the love of her life, Fred Sanders. He was also a broker and the former Mayor of Walnut Creek. They met over a real estate deal, fell in love, and were married later that year. We always referred to Fred as her “greatest close”! Once married, Helen and Fred settled in Round Hill Country Club in Alamo. In 1992, they retired and built their desert “dream home” in Borrego Springs, CA. In 2004, it was off to Lincoln, CA to be closer to their children, grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren. Helen enjoyed life to the fullest! She was an avid golfer, travelled extensively with Fred (her favorite destination was Hawaii), was active in her church and enjoyed teaching youth from Central America how to read/write English. She loved her books, and enjoyed cooking and entertaining. Her faith was very important to her and this led her to travel with Fred to the Holy Land as well as Oberammergau, Germany to see the famous Passion Play reenacted every 10 years. Helen celebrated her American heritage. She was a Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) and a proud native Californian. She happily acknowledged the sacrifices that those around her had made serving her country. Her father was a career officer, retiring after 30 years of service at the rank of Colonel in the US Army Air Force including Military Governor of Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany post WWII. Her first husband, Leo, is a Purple Heart Navy veteran of both WWII and Korea. Fred is a US Army veteran of the Pacific in WWII also, having served in the Philippines and the occupation of Japan, later to serve in another capacity – as Mayor of Walnut Creek from 1961-62 and 64-65. Her son, Greg, is a 22 year retired veteran of the US Air Force. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Fred, her sister Norma Rapp, children Stephanie (Grant) Stewart, Greg Feltz, Matt (Cathy) Feltz and Drew (Livian) Feltz, Stepchildren Keith (Susan) Sanders and (Janet) Sanders, Nephews: Eric (Sidney) Thurston, Mark (Lisa) Thurston. Niece: Lisa (Mark) Andrew. 6 Grandchildren, 6 Step-Grandchildren, 2 Great-Grandchildren, and 7 Step Great-Grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, Clark and Elsie Avery, stepson Craig Sanders and niece Pam Thurston. Donations can be made in her honor to The American Heart Association or Susan G. Komen Foundation (Helen was a breast cancer survivor also.)


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Helen Elyse Sanders

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