by James Rada, Jr.
When Raymond Sanders (pictured right) first came to Sabillasville, it was because he needed a bigger house. His family was growing, and the Sanders needed space to expand. They found a two-story home at the end of a dead-end road and set down roots.
“It’s a nice place to live,” Sanders said. “The dead-end road was good for the children, and my wife’s father and stepmother lived nearby.”
His children started attending Sabillasville School when it was still in the building that is now the Walkersville Christian Fellowship Church. At that time, local students up to grade eight all fit into a three-room school. For high school, the students were bussed down the mountain to Thurmont High.
“I didn’t worry about them going down to Thurmont,” Sanders said. “People were careful on the road, and there were no accidents.”
Sanders was born in Iron Springs, Pennsylvania in 1922, but his family moved to Fountaindale, Pennsylvania, when he was six. From there, they would eventually move to Charmain and Highfield.
Although his work would take him far from Catoctin Mountain, to travel to all of his homes is no more than a ten-mile round trip.
“I’ve been working since the time I was twelve,” Sanders said.
His early work was hauling vegetables for a farmer, but he has also been a fruit picker, worked at the pipe and nipple factory, Landis Machine, and a brick factory.
His longest-lasting job was as a truck driver for Fort Ritchie. He worked there for twenty-two years, retiring in 1975 because of a back injury.
“They wouldn’t give me another job, and I couldn’t work anymore because I couldn’t pull rigs.”
Instead, he wound up retiring at age fifty-two. He was also a member of the Maryland National Guard. He was able to continue his service for five more years, before he needed to retire from that as well. Between his service in the National Guard and in the Army, Sanders served thirty-three years in the military.
Sanders is also a Veteran of World War II. He enlisted in the Army on March 18, 1943, and trained with the 8th Armored Division. However, when he shipped out to Europe, he was sent as part of the green troops, being sent to replace the soldiers who were dying in the war.
Once in Europe, though, he never saw combat.
“I was close to being called up a couple times, but it never happened,” said Sanders.
He mustered out after three years and returned home, which at the time, was Highfield. The following year, he “really met” Betty Jane Fox. He had first met her when she was ten and he was fifteen, but that was just in passing because he was friends with the boys in her family.
Sanders was in Waynesboro one time with Betty Jane’s uncle, when her uncle tried to convince Sanders to come to Frederick with him to a dance. Sanders wanted to go, but said he didn’t have a date. Betty Jane’s uncle then fixed her up with Sanders and the two hit it off. They were married on September 13, 1947.
Together, they raised seven children (Debbie, Becky, Rita, Larry, Mary, David, and James), and one grandson (Jeffrey). They also have twelve grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren.
“When we had family picnics, we would have forty-five to eighty people show up,” Sanders said.
He has always enjoyed living in Sabillasville and says that he has pretty much anything he might need nearby. He attends church at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Blue Ridge Summit. He belongs to the Cascade American Legion, Waynesboro VFW, and Knights of Columbus.
“I think we have the nicest people that any community could have up here,” expressed Sanders. “They make great neighbors.”
Betty Jane passed away last year, and while Sanders lives alone now, he still has plenty of family looking out for him and plenty of memories.