Robert Sanders died November 4, 2012 in Bellingham. He was 86 and had lived in Friday Harbor.
Before returning to the mainland in 2004, Sanders was active in many island charities and organizations, including the San Juan Island Jazz Festival, Whale Museum, Friday Harbor Community Theater and Pig War Barbecue, the latter an opportunity to demonstrate both his business skill and barbecue technique, fielding a squad dubbed the "Chicago Tricky-noses."
Sanders moved to the San Juans in 1990 after retiring from the Chicago Tribune where he had done publicity and press information. After serving in the navy where he was a signalman and guard he began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter in Kingsport, Tennessee, and then in Lorain and Cleveland, Ohio. He later worked for TV Guide becoming regional manager in Los Angeles. In 1968, Sanders moved to Chicago to be press-relations manager for Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
After that he was public-relations director of Chicago’s public television station WTTW and then worked in the public-relations department of the Chicago Sun Times. It was while at the Sun-Times Sanders helped support an award-winning series of newspaper reports which exposed widespread city corruption. In retirement he had a regular column in the weekly newspaper and became an avid blogger.
A long-suffering Chicago Cub fan, Sanders is survived by his wife Jan, sons Brian of Flagstaff, Arizona and Scott of Chicago, and daughter Diane Rehberger of Bellingham. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to Doctors Without Borders. A celebration of his life is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Squalicum Boat House in Bellingham.