March 7, 2021

Ara Bell D. Sanders

Ara Bell D. Sanders, age 79 of Franklin, passed away July 24, 2019.

She was born August 06, 1939 in Atlanta, Georgia, daughter of the late, B.H. Dillard, Sr. and Dorothy Bell Dillard.

She was a 1957 graduate of East High School in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Virgil Ray Sanders; brother, Ben H. Dillard, Jr.; grandson, Sgt. Jonathon Casey Lyle; and granddaughter, Ara Leanna Meeder. Survivors include sister, Dale Dillard Hunt; daughters, Jenny Elizabeth Lyle (Greg), Valerie Anne Meeder, and Dotti H. Duncan (Ashley); grandchildren, Joshua Daniel Lyle (Maggie), Ian Joseph Lyle (Brandi), Greer Addison Lyle, Maj. Kyle Douglas Meeder (Ashley), Drake Mackinley Meeder (Dilyara), Kiersten Alysse Meeder, Mariah Dene’ Meeder, and Calee Bell Duncan; and great grandchildren, Alex, Zoe, Kade, Kyson, Charlie, Aubrey, Reid, and Connor.

Ara began her career in sales with Proffitts Department Store in Maryville, TN, where she was an award-winning interior designer. She moved to Georgia and worked for Havertys Furniture Store in downtown Atlanta. She was the first female salesman ever hired by Havertys to work on the sales floor alongside the men.

In 1978, Ara, now living in Carrollton, received her real estate license and embarked on an amazing new career. In 1983, she opened her own real estate company, Ara Hansard Realty Inc. As a broker, she was a charter member of the West Metro Board of Realtors.

Ara was the first recipient of the Phoenix Award. She had a wonderful talent for bringing people together. She used to tell people she learned to sell at an early age selling tomatoes with her daddy on the street corner. All of this is a wonderful history, but what she would like you to know is that she was first and foremost a saved child of God. Her relationship with Jesus Christ came first in her life.

Ara was a member of Bethesda Baptist Church.

Funeral services were conducted Sunday, July 28, 2019 rom Bethesda Baptist Church with Rev. Tony Morris officiating. Interment followed in the church cemetery with Josh Lyle, Ian Lyle, Kyle Meeder, Drake Meeder, Mike Williams, David Lonas as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends at Martin & Hightower Heritage Chapel on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM.

Messages of condolences can be sent to the family at

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