Alki couple’s estate gives $1 million for new medic units, more

June 25, 2012 at 9:10 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

The legacy of a couple who spent their retirement years in West Seattle will live on, thanks to more than $1,000,000 in donations announced by their family today.

The donations from the estate of William C. Sanders and Mildred Krahmer Sanders, both longtime Boeing workers, include money for the Seattle Fire Department to buy two new medic units, and for Research to Prevent Blindness to build a lab for advanced eye research.

Read on for more about the couple and their gifts:

From the news release shared by nephew Donald L. Krahmer, Jr.:

William C. Sanders was on February 25, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. His wife, Mildred Jeanette Krahmer Sanders, was born in Blooming, Oregon on the family homestead (near Hillsboro, Oregon) on January 23, 1921. They spent their early lives in the greater Portland metro area. After marrying in 1944, they moved to the Seattle area, where William Sanders worked as an aerospace engineer and where he retired as an executive in foreign engineering technology. Mildred Sanders served in a variety of engineering support activities, ending her career as the librarian and manager of The Boeing Company’s engineering library. The couple were world travelers. Upon retirement, they settled in West Seattle [on Alki Beach] where they enjoyed a skyline view of the City of Seattle and the Seattle harbor. William Sanders predeceased Mildred on September 28, 2002 (here’s his obituary). Mildred Sanders passed away on April 6, 2011 (here’s her obituary).

RPB is the leading voluntary health organization that supports eye research directed at prevention, treatment or eradication of all diseases that threaten vision. The organization provides major eye research funding to more than 55 leading scientific institutions in the United States and the funds it generates supports the work of hundreds of talented vision scientists engaged in a diverse range of disease-oriented research.

“Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is extremely gratified to have received this forward-thinking gift from the Sanders’ Trust,” said Diane S. Swift, chair of RPB. “We will use it to create a highly competitive grant for the construction of a new eye research facility at one of the nation’s leading medical schools. This new lab will help researchers advance vision science and possibly produce cures and treatments at a time when more and more people are facing the isolating loss of sight.”

The Seattle Fire Department medic units are staffed by two firefighters, who are also paramedics. These individuals have completed nine months of intensive medical training through the Medic One program. The countywide Medic One systems focuses on providing first-rate pre-hospital emergency care to critical patients. The Department has a total of seven medic units assigned to fire stations throughout the City of Seattle. See:

“As a department, we are extremely grateful for the generosity shown by Mildred and William Sanders. The medic units and the paramedics who staff them will literally save thousands of lives,” said Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean.

Additionally, there were two other smaller charitable gifts made by the Sanders estate to two Oregon institutions:

-$15,000 to Linfield College, in McMinnville, Oregon in honor of Evelyn Davis and Kyle Harris. Davis is a Seattle resident, wife of former Puget Power and Light CEO Ralph Davis and Mildred Sanders’ former roommate at Linfield. Harris is cousin to Sanders, a current student at Linfield as well as a graduate of Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon. He was also a member of the Westview Wildcats’ 2011 state championship baseball team and is a member of the Linfield football team.

-$5000 to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center located in Portland, Oregon for the St. Vincent’s Foundation International Medical Education Fund. This donation is in honor of Mildred Sanders two treating physicians- Dr. Brian Kearns and Dr. Malcolm McAninch. The Fund supports international medical volunteerism and helps support physician residents at St. Vincent’s who travel to Africa regularly to provide charitable care to those in need and to gain global perspective on health care that benefits those who they serve in the Northwest.

We’re checking with SFD on the timetable for the new medic units, and will add that information to this story when it’s available.


  1. Their family should be very proud of this gift. It speaks of a large heart and life well lived to think of others. This is the way civilization advances, when those that have, can see farther than their own lives to help the community. Thanks Mr and Mrs Sanders, your spirits will be remembered here.

    Comment by Westward — 11:13 am June 25, 2012 #

  2. WOW. What a wonderful and inspiring legacy, one that will help so many people!

    Comment by mookie — 11:44 am June 25, 2012 #

  3. WOW, what a gift from some very generous people.

    Comment by Harold Reems — 4:37 pm June 25, 2012 #

  4. That’s awesome.

    Comment by Native — 9:07 pm June 25, 2012 #

  5. How wonderful and generous!

    Comment by ad — 10:04 pm June 25, 2012 #

  6. Awesome!

    Comment by Krystal — 11:41 am June 26, 2012 #

  7. Rest in Peace Mr. and Mrs. Sanders. Your thoughtful generosity will bring so much help to so many for generations.

    Comment by Evelyn and Dick Bateman — 3:02 pm June 26, 2012 #

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