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Ina Sanders

Obituary of Ina Jean Sanders

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Ina Jean French was born on May 10, 1955, in Monroe, Michigan. She was one of five children born from the union of Melvin and Lola (Cairl) French. Ina married Walter Neal in 1972 and from this union a son, Donald Neal, was born. She received her GED in the 1980’s.

As a young woman, Ina was a member of the Tri County Pool League where her team won many awards. She fed her spiritual appetite by attending weekly services at Countryside Wesleyan Church in Temperance. In 2006, at the Lucas County Courthouse, she married Steven Sanders. To help provide for her family, she was gainfully employed by the Dollar General, wearing many hats, but mainly working as a cashier/clerk.

Ina particularly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, their friends, and the neighborhood children, affectionately becoming known as Grammy to all of them.  She had a deep love for all of these children, and it was quite evident in everything she did. Her enthusiasm for their activities knew no bounds, as she made it a point to visit well over 100 ball fields to watch them play and compete in various sports. One of the things she truly enjoyed was watching her son, Donald race demolition derby and figure 8 cars. She was a staple at all his races and would visit many tracks around Michigan just to catch a glimpse of her favorite racer driving car number 26xx.

A true sports enthusiast, Ina was a loyal supporter of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, following the career of her all-time favorite player, #15 Brandon Inge, and later that of Miguel Cabrera, and Nick Castellanos. Alongside her beloved husband Steve, Ina traveled to watch University of Toledo football and basketball games.  Together, they often embarked on leisurely tours of small college campuses, nurturing their shared love for exploration until walking became a challenge for her.

In her down time, Ina found solace in "sap TV," as her family playfully referred to the Lifetime and Hallmark channels where she indulged in watching Christmas movies. She also enjoyed the occasional viewing of Dr. Phil and HGTV home improvement shows, finding simple pleasures in these pastimes.

Ina and Steve also cherished their visits to MacQueen Apple Orchard in Toledo, finding peace and joy in the natural beauty of the surroundings. Additionally, they frequently found tranquility by the lakeside in Port Clinton.

Ina Sanders, age 68, of Erie, passed away unexpectedly on the morning of Sunday, January 28, 2024. In addition to her passing, she is preceded by her parents; three sisters: Kathleen Collins, Carol Jean French, Patricia "Maddy" Benz; one brother: Frank French; her first spouse: Walter P. Neal; two sisters in law: Terri French and Terry French; two brothers-in-law: Lloyd W. Collins, and William Benz.

Left to cherish her memory, she leaves her husband: Steven "Steve" J. Sanders; a son: Donald (Tamara) Neal; two daughters: Rachel (Rob) Klos, Monika (Sean Bristol) Sanders; five grandchildren: Dylan Neal, Dalton Neal, Jordan Klos, Mason Bristol, Eastyn Klos; a brother: Melvin French; many nieces and nephews whom she loved as if they were her own children.  Ina also leaves her former husband: Allen Kiser, who remained a close friend and father figure to her son, Donald, even after the marriage ended.

Friends may gather on Sunday; February 4, 2024, from 3:00pm until 7:00pm at Merkle Funeral Service, Erie; 9156 Summit Street, Erie, Michigan 48133 (734) 317-7199. A Celebration of Her Life will take place at 11:00am on Monday; February 5, 2024, with a procession to Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery for burial.

Memorial contributions in her honor are suggested to Countryside Wesleyan Church in Temperance.  Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting


Gathering for Ina Sanders

3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sunday, February 4, 2024
Merkle Funeral Service - Erie
9156 Summit Street
Erie, Michigan, United States
(734) 317-7199
Gathering for Ina Sanders
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Ina Sanders

In Loving Memory

Ina Sanders

1955 - 2024

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