Madeline Marie Hatter Sanders, of Dallas, Texas, died Monday, July 10, after a life
very well lived, full of elegance, laughs, and travel always surrounded by the
people and pets she loved. She was born in Iowa County, Iowa, on December 2,
1926, and raised in nearby Marengo, Iowa. Of that, she was always proud.
Madeline was preceded in death by her husband, Sol; parents Ward and Esther
Hatter; sister Mary Hatter Divis; and her grandnephew, Mark Shihady.
She is survived by her nieces Angela Easterday and husband Joseph of Trafalgar,
Indiana, and Diane Shihady of Suwanee, Georgia, along with countless friends
across the globe.
Madeline was a singer from an early age and loved to tell stories of singing all
around Iowa, especially the gazebo in Marengo.
She received her BA in Applied Voice from Northwestern University in 1949, then
boldly boarded a ship bound for Italy to spend a year under the tutelage of the
famous French-Italian dramatic soprano, Gina Cigna. During that time, Madeline
sang at the Teatro alla Scala in Milano multiple times as Cigna helped her grow
into her powerful soprano voice.
Upon her return to Iowa, she completed an MA in Music while dipping her toe
into teaching private voice lessons.
Madeline’s next adventure took her to Long Island, New York, to study under the
vaunted expert in German operas, William Brady. It was in Brady’s studio that she
met the ever-smiling Sol Sanders who had emigrated from Russia-Poland as a
young man. The couple married in 1954 as he was completing his cantor studies
at Hebrew Union College. Sol was recruited to Congregation Shearith Israel in
Dallas after working in New York for a while. Madeline was thrilled at the
prospect of shopping at Neiman-Marcus in her new city.
Over the years, Madeline performed both on the concert and opera stages, along
with some television work. She was the choir director at Congregation Shearith
Israel for many years while also maintaining a full studio in Dallas and Santa Fe,
New Mexico. She traveled annually to teach at the American Institute of Musical
Studies in Graz, Austria, and later at Bel Canto Fiorentino in the Amalfi Coast of
Italy. Through Madeline’s studios, she trained countless singers who, in turn, have
taught across the world.
Upon Sol’s death in 1986, Madeline spent more time at their vacation home in
Santa Fe, buying homes to decorate and refurbish before selling. Her students
would often follow her there for voice retreats.
An evening at Madeline’s home might include a visitor with a Stradivarius violin,
neighbors bringing meals since she used her oven for storage, or a friend having a
bowl of chocolate ice cream. However, one rarely left her home without a glass or
two of scotch or Prosecco. She was a wonderful hostess, no matter the occasion.
The world is a better place for having had Madeline in it.
Graveside services will be held at the cemetery in Millersburg, Iowa, on Thursday,
July 20, at 10:30 am. Memorials in her name may be made to Dementia.org or the
SISterhood of Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas.