Home Doll house Long-time furniture restorer known for his passion and skills

Long-time furniture restorer known for his passion and skills


CUMBERLAND – For Ronnie “Ron” Sanders, leaving the world better than he found it was a way of life – furniture he restored through his nearly 60-year-old family business, to his community across the organizations he helped lead.

And while saddened by his death last month, those who knew and loved him find solace in remembering how he touched their lives.

Ron Sanders in his office earlier in his career.  (Photo submitted)
Ron Sanders in his office earlier in his career. (Photo submitted)

Sanders died at age 69 on May 23, after collapsing at his home and going into cardiac arrest while being taken to hospital. He owned and operated The Shambles Furniture Restoration at 7183 WUS 40 in Cumberland, where an 1820s log cabin he restored stands out among the homes and businesses along the highway. The business, which has attracted notable clients and historic restoration projects over the decades, will close next week.

Sanders graduated from New Palestine High School in 1970 and received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Anderson College before joining the family business, which his father, Alva Sanders Jr., founded in 1966.

The company takes its name from The Shambles, a street in York, England, with buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.

Sanders’ daughter, Ashley Clark, said he is very committed to his family, past and present.

“He was a big family guy,” Clark said. “He had researched family history for years and always made sure to attend any family event.”

He hosted many of these events in his log cabin, she added.

“He was nice,” Clark said. “He worked very hard for his community.

He was a past president of the Indiana National Road Association and the Sugar Creek Township Board and also served on Cumberland City Council.

Sanders took over The Shambles after his father’s death in 1997.

“He loved meeting people through it,” Clark said.

Jan Lynam, office and store manager at The Shambles who has worked for the company for 11 years, said a variety of furniture has been restored there over the decades, from conference tables and exterior doors to exterior doors. wrought iron furniture.

“From tiny, miniature dollhouse furniture to items that could barely fit in the spray booth,” she added. “It’s been a wide range of things.”

Lynam also went to high school with Sanders and remembers him competing in football and wrestling teams.

“He tried to be the badass… but his heart was as big as him,” Lynam said.

The Shambles restored furniture for the Columbia Club, Benjamin Harrison’s presidential site and the Simon Property Group offices in Indianapolis, as well as for Purdue University in West Lafayette.

“And he’s always been proud of it,” Lynam said.

Some of his clients were from the third generation.

“I always thought that said a lot about the company,” Lynam said.

He had a unique talent for his craft.

“We saw things in pieces, or it looks like they went through the biggest hailstorm in the world, amazing furniture, and you would think, ‘Oh my God,’ Lynam said. ‘And he could look at it. and it was like he could see the finished product – what it might look like… He could see things the rest of us couldn’t.

Clark agreed.

“He had an eye for stuff like that,” she said. “He had the skills to do more complex and complicated things. “

Sanders also spent years restoring an older Model T.

“He was a conservator of history, not just with the business, but just with everything he got his hands on,” Clark said.

Sanders also had a passion for photography and toured for the Associated Press at Indianapolis 500, Talladega Superspeedway, Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. He also loved scuba diving.

Clark said his father contracted COVID-19 in January, which left him struggling to breathe after the virus took its course.

After Sanders collapsed on May 23, he was conscious and talking on the stretcher as paramedics loaded him into an ambulance, but went into cardiac arrest on his way to hospital.

Clark said he had seen much of his family the day before at his half-brother’s wedding celebration, many of whom had not been able to see for a long time due to the pandemic.

Sanders is also survived by his wife, Jennye Sanders; daughter, Andrea Sanders; and her granddaughter, Lilly Clark, along with other relatives. He was buried in the New Palestine Cemetery.

“His family, I think, meant more to him than anything else,” Lynam said. “Especially his granddaughter. … He would have sold his soul if that meant anything to Lilly. She represented the world to him. I hope they talk about him… to keep his memory alive for her, to let her know that her grandfather was a good guy, that he ran a great company and that a lot of people knew him.

The Shambles will close on June 30. Its five employees are completing the last works of the company and accept no new work.

COVID-19 has taken its toll on the business. Lynam recalled that she had to shut down for two months at the start of the pandemic because it was not an essential business. Much of his work has thrived on moving damage claims during travel, said Clark, which has also declined throughout the pandemic.

Business had already slowed down lately, Clark continued, as more people learn to restore furniture themselves and buy cheaper furniture that isn’t worth restoring.

Long after the lights went out in the business for the last time, Lynam will recall that two of them came on after seemingly inoperative. There are two fluorescent bulbs in the building that have not worked for several years, she said, adding that this had changed recently as she and two of her colleagues left for the day.

“I followed them outside and locked the door, we walked into the back room, and all of a sudden those two bulbs came on,” Lynam said. “The three of us were standing there and kinda looking at each other. “

Then her coworker said, “Ron says, ‘Turn around guys,'” she recalled, laughing.


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