About Our Founder
Richmond Lanzro Sanders was a lanky, high-school teenager in the early 1940's at Johnston County Training School in Smithfield, North Carolina, who dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. He knew the odds were against him because the Great Depression had not completely loosened its economic grip on his large family. However, dreams are free so one can dream as big as one wants. Richmond volunteered to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942; he was honorably discharged in 1946. He then became an apprentice at Hamilton Funeral Home and then matriculated at Eckels School of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eventually, he bought Woodard Funeral Home and Woodard Mutual Burial Association, Inc. at 806 East Market St. here in Smithfield on May 16, 1956. This was the beginning of Sanders Funeral Home. Prior to purchasing Woodard Funeral Home, Richmond was an employee of Hamilton Funeral Home. He was also an insurance agent for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, and served as secretary-treasurer of Sanders Mutual Burial Association, Inc.
Meet The Owner
Hugh L. Sanders is the owner/manager of R.L. Sanders Funeral Home, Smithfield, North Carolina. A lifelong resident of Smithfield, he learned about the funeral home business alongside his father, R.L. Sanders, who oversaw the service with Hugh's mother, Myrtle Sanders. Hugh managed the home when he became of age, and the baton was passed to him completely upon his father's transition in 1994.
Hugh earned an Associate's Degree in Funeral Service from Fayetteville Technical College, and also attended North Carolina Central University. In addition to running R.L. Sanders Funeral Home, he is heavily involved in his community and committed to giving back. He has served as a mentor at South Smithfield Elementary School, as well as Vice President and President of the elementary school's PTA. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Fayetteville Tech's Funeral Service program.
He is a lifelong member of First Missionary Baptist Church, Smithfield, where he serves as a Trustee; a member of the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce; and, a member of the Eastern Funeral Service Association.
Mrs. Myrtle P. Sanders, a graduate of North Caroline Central University, retired as a teacher for the Johnston County Schools and later obtained her funeral director's license to graciously work beside her husband in the business. She is a very active member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Smithfield, North Carolina. She has served on many committees and boards within the church to include Deaconess, Treasurer, Christian Education Committee, Missionary Circle, Sunday School, Announcer, and the Pastoral Search Committee. She is an active member of the community as well. She served as a member on the Board of Council on Aging and delivered for Meals on Wheels.