Cover photo for James Sanders's Obituary
James Sanders Profile Photo
1925 James 2017

James Sanders

December 25, 1925 — November 23, 2017

North Austin Location

James Arthur Sanders died peacefully Thursday, November 23, 2017 at Belmont Village, West Lake Hills in Austin with his wife of 70 years by his side.

James (Jim) was born on Christmas day in 1925 in Huntington West Virginia, son of Rufus and Peggy Sanders; but shortly afterward would to move to Harlingen and then Austin TX where he spent most of his years growing up.  Jim enjoyed school and was an accomplished student, hard worker and stand-out on his high school tennis team.  He loved growing up in Texas, camping trips to the Grand Canyon, Padre Island and the Gulf Coast.  Jim gained great satisfaction from his work throughout his life.  As a young man he picked grapefruit, worked as a gas station attendant and was a cook for the National Park Service.  At age 18, he joined the US Army Air Force during WWII going through flight school and serving as a bombardier and aerial gunner while flying missions over Italy where his plane was shot down in battle.  He achieved the rank of Corporal and received a First Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze medal for meritorious achievement in aerial flight during sustained operational activities against the enemy.

After the war, he went back to school on the GI Bill and gained his undergraduate degree from Texas A&I and then his Masters Degree from the University of Texas.  While at A&I, he would meet the love of his life Malcolm Louise Patterson at a school dance. The two would later marry in 1947 and have three children: Nancy, James and Richard.

Jim was successful in business as an executive for Sentry and Fireman’s Fund insurance before starting his own company, ARM Insurance Agency where he continued to work until age 89.  During his career the family lived many places including Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and California but at heart he was always a Texan and a lifelong Longhorn fan.  Jim and Malcolm finally returned to Texas moving back to Austin in 1992 in retirement.   James was an avid golfer where he was noted for shooting a score lower than his age more than once and scoring a hole in one.  He also enjoyed travel, theater, old movies, bridge, tennis, California wine, dancing and music. He was a fan of the big bands, particularly Glen Miller, Count Basie and Tex Beneke and he danced late into the night on his 90th birthday.  He also loved spending time with family during the Holidays and cooking good food.  He always said he would travel across the United States to have Thanksgiving dinner with the family and make the Sanders’ secret cornbread stuffing and gravy.  He will be greatly missed and forever loved.

He is survived by his wife Malcolm Louise Sanders, daughter Nancy Sanders (Karin Dejamaer), sons Jim Sanders (Karen) and Richard Sanders (Suzanne); grandsons Joey Sanders, Michael Sanders, Ryan Sanders; nephews Ronnie Knoll (Gail), Robert Knoll (Karen), Charles Eller (Ava); nieces Carolyn Keck, Connie Keck (Bob). He was preceded in death by his parents Peggy and Rufus Sanders and his sister, Betty Eller.

A Celebration of his Life will be held on Dec. 15, 2017 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3003 Northland Dr. Austin, Texas with visitation at 1:30pm and the service at 2pm.  He will be buried at Waco Memorial Cemetery on Saturday Dec. 16 at 10am with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, Texas 78752.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Sanders, please visit our flower store.


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