Maarta Kathleen Sanders

March 31, 1988 – November 11, 2020


It is with great regret that we announce that Family, Friends and the World lost an incredibly special wife, mother, daughter, niece, aunt and person when Maarta passed away at the very young age of thirty-two (32) from Stage IV cervical cancer.

While growing up, Maarta had dual residences with her parents in Renton and on Orcas Island.  After graduating from Edmonds Community College, Maarta moved back to Orcas Island and started her career at Washington Federal as Assistant Manager while she continued with her education.

While living on Orcas, Maarta met, fell in love with and married the love of her life and her soul mate,

Zackary Edward Sanders.   Maarta and Zack moved from Orcas Island in 2018 to Woodinville and she started a new career with Charles Schwab.  Maarta, Zack and family recently moved to their new home in Marysville, Washington but she spent her last few hours on this Earth at Evergreen Hospice in Kirkland.

Maarta was so special, smart and caring.  A selfless people person that was dedicated to her immediate family (Zack, Matthew, Kai and Andrew), dogs, career and home.  Maarta liked and could talk with anyone.  A special gift.

Maarta had a special personal calling as an artist at heart.  She was smitten with flowers (sunflowers, and spider mum`s in particular), South Carolina, new unplanned adventures, the color purple, taking pictures of scenery, Christmas, interior design and being home with family.

Charles Schwab recently shared that they were naming their 8th Floor Conference center the “Maarta K. Sanders Memorial Conference Center” in her memory.  Although Maarta had only been with Schwab for a couple of years she had a profoundly positive impact on so many people.  Maarta was that type of person.

There will be a private family gathering for the immediate family where we will celebrate her life.   Maarta is survived by Zack Sanders, (husband); Matthew (son); Andrew (son); Kai (son); Drew and Kathy Vandenberg (parents) and many other Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends.

Rest in Peace, Maarta!  We will forever love and miss you!

17 Responses to “Maarta Kathleen Sanders”

  • Kaleena Mcgarry says:

    Her beautiful soul and what a wonderful human. I will always say that I was blessed to have known her and to have shared smiles, laughs, and sweet conversations. All my love to her family and close friends during this time of loss and transition. Her strong spirit will always be surrounding us all and even though not here in this physical realm her mark has been made and for that I am grateful. Much love and respect The McGarry Family.

  • Wendy Shinstine says:

    Prayers and hugs for all of your hearts. This is a beautiful tribute for Maarta. Her love was felt by all who met her.

  • Dawn Castaneda says:

    Our hearts are broken. Maarta had an amazing gift of making everyone around her feel like they were standing in a ray of sunshine. Her smile, her caring nature and her kind sense of humor will be forever remembered. She made such an impact on all our lives. Our love and prayers are with you always.

  • Tammy Myers says:

    Maarta was that rare person that everyone will agree only knew friends. Our friend has left this Earth; but is now one of our bright stars in the night sky- always twinkling. Always twinkling smiles in the dark. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and with her friends! Her legacy of love and friendship is ours to carryon!

  • Brian Cohrt says:


    Every second that I spent with you include a big, bright smile on your face – and such a positive attitude. You made (and will continue to make) me want to be a happier, fun-loving person. my most sincere condolences to your family.

    we miss you dearly.

    Brian C

  • Elaine Goodrich says:

    Maarta was a sweet and positive light and soul. With a ready smile and a huge heart, she graced everyone she touched. She was amazingly kind and caring when Joe had cancer and I am sure he welcomed her with open arms. Rest in Peace, dear Maarta.

  • Zackary Sanders says:

    My sweet Angel. I can remember when I first met you and how beautiful I thought you were. I remember going to the grocery store just to see if you were at work and I could find some change to buy some nonsense so I could go through your line. I remember the first time I put my arm around you at the market and how you smiled. You were my everything. You gave me the most wonderful 11 years anyone could wish for. I will always hold you close to my heart. Please watch over Matthew Andrew Kai and i and help me keep going. I love you so very much babe. Rest well, until I see you again.

    All my love

    You and me forever

    Zackary Edward Sanders (your lucky ass husband)

  • Patricia Plummer says:

    Bright lights brighten the world around them and the darkness recedes. You were such a light to those around you. May your family know the peace and comfort provided by Our Father.

  • Mike Parnell says:

    My favorite memory of Maarta was watching her play flag football at OCS. During one of our Elementary grade games she ran a play called “Bummer” and ended up in the enedione before anyone even knew she had the ball. Her face was like a bright light! I didn’t know how competitive she was until that moment. Fun girl who loved to have fun.

  • Clarabeth says:

    When I think of Maarta I think of warmth…I don’t have a memory of her when she wasn’t smiling! When I was small she was the cool big kid at OCS who always spoke to me as a friend, despite our age difference – she always made me feel special and seen. I also remember thinking she had the most beautiful hair I’d ever seen. As we grew into adults, Maarta beautifully exemplified how to love and serve one’s community. She was always doing something for other people out of the goodness of her heart, without seeking any recognition – she must have learned that from her parents 🙂 I’ll always remember Maarta’s warmth and Christlike selflessness. We are truly blessed to have known her (and her pretty hair!). Thank you God for letting us know, love, and be loved by precious Maarta. God bless you, Vandenberg and Sanders families – Maarta will always hold a special place in our hearts and we will never forget her legacy of love.

  • Kim Stokke says:

    Kathy, Drew, Zack, Matthew, Andrew and Kai,
    My heart is breaking for all of you . Maarta shared so much sunshine wherever she went . her smile could light up a room!She will be be missed so much . I know you all feel her loss in your lives so much. Prayers for Zack as you continue raising three wonderful sons without your life partner/soulmate by your side. Prayers for the boys as they miss out on the influence of Maarta in their lives. Prayer for Drew and Kathy as you mourn the loss of your beuatiful daughter. May you feel the love of others and the peace of God surrounding you during this awful time!
    Love, Cousin Kim

  • Prudy Nau says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Maarta

  • Emma Smith says:

    I will always treasure the memories I have of Maarta from OCS when I was young. I looked up to her immensely — her confidence, her friendliness, her warmth. She had an air of such grace and kindness wherever she went, and I loved just being around it. We are all better because of Maarta’s loving and gentle touch in our lives. May angels welcome her home ❤️

    John 16:22

    “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

  • Lynsey Smith says:

    Maarta was a brilliant beacon of light to all who were blessed to know her. Her contagious smile would light up the room and our hearts. When she was a teenager younger kids would swarm to her when they saw her because she made them all feel so loved. As she moved into adulthood she set a tone of goodness and inclusivity wherever she went. Drew and Kathy, thank you for bringing her into the world to us and modeling a servant heart for her. Zack, thank you for loving her so fully. Matthew, Andrew, and Kai thank you for bringing her complete joy. My deepest sympathies and love to all.

  • Honora Mathisen-Lund says:

    Maarta has had an amazing impact in my life. Some of my first memories have her in them. I will miss her dearly, and will always remember the beautiful light she was in our lives. Rest in power Maarta!

  • Lori Lund says:

    My love and prayers to Zack, Matthew, Andrew, Kai and parents Kathy and Drew that you all be comforted by the memories of Maarta. Maarta touched people around her with a warm smile,sparking blue eyes, and her happiness.

    Maarta was my remarkable and courageous niece who made a valiant effort in her battle with cancer. Even during her hardest struggles she was positive and caring about how others were doing. This was an amazing gift. Maarta shared her light on those around her and will continue this brightness in our days to come. I love you so very much Maarta! Love always & forever,
    Aunty Lori

  • Young Aunt Nancy says:

    What an awesome tribute to Maarta! Larrie & I became friends with the Vandenbergs in the early 90’s when Maarta was around 4. She adopted me as young Aunt Nancy because she already had another older Aunt Nancy(and Uncle Larrie)! God brought us together this past year in a very special way. She texted me almost weekly, usually with “how are you doing”. She was a fighter to the end. Maarta’s light will shine in all our hearts forever. I will miss you Ms. M, but I know we will meet again! Love you, Young Aunt Nancy

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