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Former resident's bequest makes big impact

Mildred Jeanette Krahmer Sanders has passed away, but the legacy she and her husband, William Sanders, left behind is likely to have beneficial impacts on a countless number of people over many years to come.

Mildred Krahmer was born in Blooming in 1921 and lived in the Hillsboro area for more than 20 years. She attended Hillsboro High School and graduated in 1939.

After high school, she attended Linfield College in McMinnville, and upon graduation she went to work for First National Bank of Portland as a safe deposit box clerk. She met her husband-to-be, Bill Sanders, at a gathering at the Odd Fellows Hall in Portland. Sanders, who was serving in the Navy at that time, reportedly fell for Mildred instantly.

They were wed June 6, 1944 — the same day the Allies invaded Normandy — at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Blooming.

The couple moved to Seattle, where Bill worked as an aerospace engineer for Boeing, and Mildred served in engineering support activities. She ended her career as the librarian and manager of the Boeing engineering library.

Bill died in 2002, and Mildred passed away in 2011, and the couple’s estate was very generous in its support of philanthropic causes.

In 2012, the estate of William C. Sanders and Mildred Krahmer Sanders donated more than $550,000 to the city of Seattle to purchase two new medic units for the Seattle Fire Department.

“My aunt and uncle cared passionately for the work of the city of Seattle Fire Department and their medic program and the thousands of people the program serves each year,” said Donald Krahmer, Jr., co-chairman of business and technology practice with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC in Portland.

Krahmer served as trustee of his aunt and uncle’s estate.

The first medic unit the Seattle Fire Department purchased with funds from the estate went into service Dec. 12. A second unit will be purchased later.

“As a department, we are extremely grateful for the generosity shown by Mildred and William Sanders,” said Fire Chief Gregory Dean of the Seattle Fire Department. “The generous donation from the Sanders’ is truly a lifesaving legacy. The medic units and the paramedics who staff them literally save thousands of lives.”

Don Krahmer, who also grew up in the Hillsboro area, explained that in addition to their concern for public safety, the Sanders’ also felt strongly about the need to support advanced eye research, in particular for those facing age-related vision loss.

As a result, in addition to the contribution to the Seattle Fire Department, the couple left a bequest of $600,000 that went to the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, where scientists are at the forefront of developing cures for eye-related illnesses.

“These were charities they chose some time ago,” said Krahmer. “They were very thoughtful people. They spent a lot of time thinking about what they wanted to leave. These were gifts of gracious generosity.”

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