Thomas Paul Sanders


Thomas Paul Sanders was born in Johnstown, PA on September 23, 1934 to Martha Cameron and Thomas Andrew Sanders. He was the third of three siblings, with two sisters, Wilda Betts and Jane Callan, now deceased. Paul attended public schools in Johnstown and graduated from Johnstown High, June 1952. He Joined the U.S. Air Force ten days later at age 17.
He was sent to Sampson, TX for aircraft mechanical school. Upon completion of this training, he was assigned to Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA in January 1953. Sanders was honorably discharged from the service in 1956, continuing to work in civil services at MAFB for 18 months thereafter. Paul married Betty Peppers of Valdosta in June of 1954. While living in Valdosta they had two daughters, Brenda (Tom) Parrish and Kathy (Leon) Taylor.
After leaving civil service, Paul worked for Prudential Insurance Co. until June 1961. He then began a career with State Farm Insurance that lasted for nearly forty years. He became a Chartered Life Underwriter, receiving a degree in 1969. Paul was a well-known agent in Valdosta until June 1981, when he transferred to Columbus, GA as an Agency Manager, retiring in 1999.
During his years in Valdosta, Paul served as Chair of the United Way, Chair of the Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, Lowndes County Board of Education, President of Valdosta Rotary Club, was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, and became a Past Master of St. John the Baptist Masonic Lodge #184.
After moving to Columbus, Paul married Francina Fluker of Quitman. They had two daughters: Francina (Shaun) Fluker- Sanders Russ and Paula (Chad) Cameron Sanders Irwin. While living in Columbus, Paul was Chair of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, active in the North Columbus Rotary Club, Chair of the United Way, a board member of Green Island Country Club, Chair with the Buick Challenge Golf Tournament for 23 years. His family was active in Morningside Presbyterian Church for many years. He was an avid volunteer for the Sports Council from 1996 until his death, and a volunteer with the National Infantry Museum, adjacent to Ft. Benning.
A written history of Paul's lifelong activities doesn't begin to describe what joy they brought to him and what happiness and light he brought into the lives of everyone who was lucky enough to know him. He was surrounded by family and friends who adored and admired him until the last moment of his life and will be remembered forever for the many moments of levity, learning and quiet peace we enjoyed with him.
Paul loved to boat, play blackjack, to travel, to fly and to break bread with loved ones, to sing in the church choir, to watch hockey, to play golf, to tell stories, to listen to country music and connect. Everyone he met became his friend for he was always ready with a joke or word of advice. He was unfailingly generous. Paul trusted in a divine plan until the end and we are at peace knowing we will see him again.
He is survived by his wife, Fran, four daughters and their spouses, and six grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please send a memorial donation to: National Infantry Museum, 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, GA 31903.
A Celebration of Paul's life will be held on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 3 PM at Christ Community Church on Milgen Road in Columbus, GA. Please join the family from 1-3 PM at the church for visitation, the sharing of memories and light refreshments.
Published on January 9, 2019
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