Hope Elizabeth Sanborn formerly Hope Gardner passed away peacefully Monday night at Jersey Shore Medical Center after a long struggle with a chronic illness with her family by her side. Her last words were "What took so long!"
Hope was the first born to Ruth and Richard Gardner on May 18, 1937. She spent her toddler years in Westfield, New Jersey in a home on the Boulevard which still stands today. At the beginning of World War 2 the family moved to Spring Lake, when Spring Lake was still affordable. Her brother Richard (Dick) joined the family that year and he was to be a thorn in her side for the rest of her life.
Their first home in Spring Lake was on Worthington and 2nd Ave and remarkably is still standing untouched. A charming survivor of a bygone era when families were able to function in spaces less than 8000 square feet. Hope attended and graduated from the HW Mountz Grammar School on Tuttle Ave. Childhood in Spring Lake was incredible. Summers spent on the beach and swimming at the North End, riding bikes through quiet tree lined streets where you knew most everyone, wandering through the downtown having sodas at Jerry’s, skating on the lake in winter passing under the wooden bridges that crossed the lake, catching the Coast City Bus for a shopping trip to Asbury Park. But dark clouds were on the horizon. Events foreshadowed by her brother Dick almost burning down the family home while he was "experimenting" with matches in his upstairs bedroom. His mattress caught on fire. Unable to put it out he had the wits to drag it to the window and throw it out. The rest of the family downstairs was startled to see the burning mattress flop into the driveway. Dick was not punished in fact he might have been praised for his heroic efforts and quick thinking. A point Hope observed quietly and thought "so this is how it’s going to be". Sister Maggie joined the family at the end of the 1940s and the Gardner family was complete. Tragically Hopes father Richard passed away too young and unexpectedly from a brain tumor when she was 14 and this was a significant loss to her as it would be to any young girl as she begins to navigate her way into the world of adults. The loss of her father affected her for the rest of her life.
Hope attended and graduated Manasquan High School class of 1955 and met her future husband Chuck Sanborn class of 1953 there. Hope was very active in clubs and was a very good student academically. She was a Varsity Cheerleader with a group of her friends who referred to each other as Herb and they remained close friends for the rest of their lives. In 1968 Hope and Chuck went to the Algonquin theatre to watch their Manasquan Classmate Jack Nicholson class of ‘54 in the now classic movie Easy Rider. They took great delight in his successful career and amused by his antics in Hollywood. After graduation from Manasquan Hope attended Secretarial school in Newark, began dating Chuck Sanborn and in 1957 got married and began a family.
Hope and Chuck raised 3 boys throughout the 60’s and 70’s residing in Wall Twp and Allenwood to the disappointment of her mother Ruth who wanted them to live in Spring Lake considering anyone who lived west of the railroad tracks "Farmers!".
Hope was an outstanding mom. It was still a time for families to thrive on one income and moms ran the home. We have fond memories of eating hot sand crusted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches washed down with weak sugar doused grape Kool Aid at Manasquan Beach. Reluctantly getting into the 140-degree station wagon with no seat belts and our skin melting into the vinyl seats. Airconditioning was a small triangle vent window on the front doors that were not very effective unless the car was going 70 mph..
As we grew older and all were attending school full time Hope began working at the school part time as the "Milk Lady,” the only thing at the school that was refrigerated. Kids back then had lunchboxes and the lunch boxes were put into the "Cloak Room " at the beginning of the day where they would slowly bake till noon. I am sure there is a certain generation that craves very warm moist tuna fish on soggy wonder bread with very un-crispy almost rubbery lays potato chips.
At the end of the 1970s Hope took a fulltime job with the Department of Defense. First working at Camp Evans, then over at Fort Monmouth. We like to think she had a role in overseeing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. It was no coincidence when she retired in the early 2000’s that Vladmir Putin began his rise to power.
Hope was diagnosed with a Chronic illness in her mid 40s which was never pinned down to one thing but began to slowly affect her speech and dexterity. Not debilitating at first but progressively getting worse each year. In her early 70s she chose to move into Waterford Glen Wall Twp an assisted living facility. She enjoyed her time there and thrived with being released from the day-to-day tasks we all must put up with. One Year she was awarded the honor of being "Miss Waterford Glen” a contest that was ultimately abandoned by the current management of Brandywine Senior living due to the lack of diversity in the age groups- too many old people.
Hopes final years were pleasant and she continued to be very outgoing looking forward to visits from friends and families and loved playing cards and board games with her grandchildren.
She is survived by her three sons, Sandy of North Conway NH, Kirk of Medford NJ, and Eric of Rexford NY, her younger sister Maggie, many nieces and nephews, and grandchildren Brant, Caroline, Kelsey, Jack, Colin, and Samantha. She especially was delighted to being able to meet her twin great granddaughters Brielle and Vivian who eerily look exactly like her when she was their age. Ironically her brother Dick passed away before succumbing to smoke inhalation from his mattress catching fire while smoking and falling asleep. (Her brother Dick who she did love very much, passed away peacefully and not from smoke inhalation).
We will all miss the energy Hope brought into our lives. A celebration of life will be planned later, and any donations please make to the Manasquan Presbyterian Church, which was very loving family of parishioners who brought much joy into Hope’s life.