Carol S. Sanderson

Honored by:Donald E. Sanderson
Brick location:G:25  map

My heroine was born Carol Mary Shaw May 4, 1927 on a farm near Oneidap, Illinois. With her 500 watt smile she was the light of my life from the time I met her at Cornell College where we both graduated in mathematics till her death January 3, 1989, following a five year bout with ovarian cancer. For two years following our June 24, 1949, wedding Carol was a mathematician at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, during the first sub orbital rocketry experiments such as the "Wac Corporal."

As she often put it she was a computer back when computers were people. Carol was being primed for operating the Lab's first analog computer when we moved to Madison, WI, in 1951. It took about a year after we came to Ames in 1953 for Carol to get her neophyte professor husband and two preschoolers into routine so she could take on teaching duties for both the Mathematics and Music Departments at Iowa State. Both departments were understaffed so she taught first year mathematics and took on elementary piano students.

She continued the latter a second year and played for several musical productions. Her pupils included children of a number of staff members e.g. daughters of President Parks and H. P. Fung (Engineering) and a son of Wise Burroughs (Agriculture). In 1972, with both our boys Bob and Mark enrolled at Iowa State and Karen in high school, Carol became a proofreader at ISU Press. She became manuscript editor in 1974 assistant editor in 1977 and production editor from 1978 until cancer forced disability leave in August of 1986.

Carol was active for many years in League of Women Voters United Ministries of Higher Education and YWCA. She was a counselor of women with problem or unwanted pregnancies under the auspices of YWCA and the Iowa Clergy Consultation Service for about three years until the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, a declaration of women's reproductive freedom, made it unnecessary. Carol served on the Council of the Ames Center of Planned Parenthood and in 1988 was elected to the Board of Sponsors of the statewide organization and honored as an "Outstanding Volunteer and Courageous Advocate." A bronze plaque stating this was placed in the Ames Center.

I took the baton as it slipped from Carol's hand and continue the race helping to promote and preserve women's reproductive rights and their freedom to choose when to bear children. A valued family promotes family values.

-Donald E. Sanderson Professor Emeritus