Eleanor Traynham Sanders Kasler left this life to join her departed family and lost pets in the next one on November 12, 2022, after cheating death multiple times in the last few years. She was born to Carl J. and Eleanor Sanders on June 22, 1942, and as a preacher’s kid was immensely proud of her father, who became a bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was nicknamed “Muffin” as a newborn by her sister Lundi, who misunderstood her parents when they described the new arrival as “a little nuthin’”. She was a Virginian by birth, growing up in Richmond in the fabulous 1950s with fun friends, great music and beautiful cars, or so she told her kids.
Muffin became an Ohioan by marriage, after meeting her husband Paul at a military dance when he was stationed at Fort Lee. She threw herself into motherhood, volunteering at her daughters’ school, chauffeuring the girls and leading the local “mothers of twins” club. She was dedicated to witnessing the recitals, concerts, plays and games featuring her kids and later, her grandkids.
Muffin never met an animal she didn’t immediately fall for, but held a special fondness for black dogs, cats from the barn next door and manatees. She loved “Star Wars” and other sci-fi and classic movies and TV, “golden oldies” music, and books. She was an avid – she would also say average – bowler, and made many great friends in smoke-filled bowling alleys around Fairfield County. She was a voracious reader who brought home bags of books from the library, and leaves behind an enormous collection of boxes of paperbacks she couldn’t pass up at auctions. On that note, she loved buying and selling stuff at garage sales and estate sales, and ran a booth at the Shoe Factory in Lancaster. While she grew to love living in Ohio, she escaped to her beloved Virginia whenever she could, often to the Eastern Shore on the Chesapeake Bay. Muffin racked up thousands of miles on her van trekking alone to visit her relatives in the South. And she spent many hours in the family station wagon on vacations to Disney World and other tourist spots and on holiday and long-weekend visits to her parents and sister, sometimes driving all night to give everyone as much time together as possible. She enthusiastically cruised in Alaska and flew to Hawaii and Europe. She always wanted to get back to Scotland to see the highland cows again and to see the beaches of Normandy for the first time. She served as a poll worker several times, and one of her last acts was to vote, specifically for one candidate – that information is available upon request.
Muffin’s last few years were challenging, and her family and friends marveled at how she managed to battle back from broken bones and other health crises. Her last fall proved too much for her to overcome, and her family is eternally grateful for the care and compassion shown by her amazing nurses at Grant Medical Center.
Muffin and her husband Paul marked 60 years of loving and irritating each other with a party at Schmidt’s in April. She’ll be dearly missed by Paul and by their spoiled and well-loved dog Mollie; by her daughters Karen Kasler Wheeler, Kristen Peters and Kathy O’Keefe and sons-in-law Nate Peters and Bill Wheeler; and by the grandchildren she adored: Kamryn Peters, Ella Peters and Jack Wheeler.
While she loved the marigolds, geraniums, pansies and petunias she used to plant along the rock wall leading up the driveway, the family doesn’t need flowers. Instead, we suggest donations to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, to save the manatees, or to any local humane society – or just go to the animal shelter or humane society and get a dog or a cat to bring home and love.