Former WRGB Reporter Judy Sanders, who faced a diagnosis of ovarian cancer with unflinching fortitude and uncommon grace, and who used her final months to gather a wide circle of friends to celebrate life and exchange heartfelt goodbyes, died Thursday.
An older sister and close friend were at the bedside of Sanders, 63, who was under hospice care.
Except for a few hospitalizations, she continued to work as an official photographer to Govs. David Paterson and Andrew Cuomo while she underwent several surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy and an experimental drug trial. The cancer had spread throughout her body and she chose to conclude treatment except pain medication. She outlived doctors' predictions about how long she had left to live by six months.
"She never got morose about dying and she wasn't afraid of it," said her older sister, Vicki, a former newspaper reporter. "She never got angry or depressed. She was always in the present and said she would live every day until the time came that it was over."
"She was always one of the brightest reporters on TV, and when she left TV she turned into a first-rate photographer," said author William Kennedy, who, with his wife, Dana, visited Sanders in Lenox.
Sanders was a triple threat in broadcast journalism: admired by colleagues, respected by competitors, feared by unscrupulous politicians.
She had a dogged, fearless style when it came to chasing a story. She won the New York State Emmy for a 1999 story in which she tracked down the perpetrator of a baby abduction in the streets of Troy with shoe-leather reporting that outpaced detectives and helped cops make the arrest.