Funeral services celebrated the life of Elma Sanders Hardage on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2008 at New Hope Primitive Baptist Church in Yatesville. Burial followed in the church cemetery.
Her dear friends, the Rev. Steve Maguire, the Rev. Robert Releford and Deacon Lewis Napier, officiated the service. All spoke of Miss Elma's cheerful smile, her generosity, her kindness and her devotion to her family and friends. "She was a blessing to everyone who knew her," Rev. Releford said during his comments. Rev. Maguire told the gathering that Miss Elma lived her life in a manner that should be an example to others. He said she lived by the Golden Rule and was never heard to say an unkind word about anyone. Deacon Napier spoke of her warmth and kindness and said, "I am a better person for having known her."
Miss Elma, 96, died Thursday, July 31, 2008 while surrounded by her family. She remained in excellent health until the last two weeks of her life, residing in her home on Yatesville Highway until just a few days before her passing. She was Yatesville's oldest citizen.
Born on Jan. 18, 1912, she was the daughter of Jim Will and Lena Shattles Sanders.
She was a native of Yatesville and was active in the community throughout her life. She was among the original founders of the Chitlin' Hoedown, which was created by the Yatesville Senior Citizens Club in 1983. At 94, she became a columnist and a proofreader for The Yatesville Telegraph, and especially enjoyed being editor of The Front Porch News, a feature which shared good news about citizens in the community.
She worked at the William Carter Company, first in Barnesville and later in Thomaston where she became the first female supervisor at Carter's, handling quality control. Throughout her long life, Miss Elma loved and kept in close contact with her Carter's family.
Miss Elma was well loved in Yatesville and by her family and many friends. She was an excellent cook who enjoyed cooking for others and sharing her recipes, many of which are included in the Yatesville Cookbook and the Yatesville Garden Club Cookbook. She also was well known for her green thumb. Hers was one of the community's most attractive yards.
She was a woman of great humor. She loved to play practical jokes, as those who found a rubber chicken on the table at Thanksgiving, or were surprised by a spring-wire joke snake in a can could attest. She loved to laugh and hear other people laugh in good fun. She often said, "Laughter is like a good dose of medicine."
Known as Aunt Elma to her family, she took on the role of matriarch after the death of her beloved sister, "Mama Grace" Martin, who died in 1988. She was also preceded in death by her nephew, Jimmy Martin of Yatesville.
She is survived by a niece, Leatrice Martin; great nieces, Jeannie (Jeff) Boetticher and Phyl (Mike) Gatlin; great-nephew, Jay Martin; great-great nieces, Heather (Josh) Hall, Stacey (Shane) Rhodes; great-great-nephews, Ryan Martin, Kyle Gatlin and David Gatlin; and great-great-great-niece, Sage Rhodes.