James Mack Saunders
Recently we received an email message from Doris Saunders notifying us of the passing of James Mack Saunders, father, husband, and former USS William R Rush Shipmate and Rush Association member. James M. Saunders passed away on Wednesday, October 23, 2007.
James and his wife, Doris, attended their first USS William R. Rush Association reunion this past September in San Antonio, Texas. Those of us who had the priveledge to meet James will always remember him as a fine gentleman with a flair for life and a grand sense of humor. He will always be a RUSH shipmate.
The following obituary was published in the Saratoga Springs, New York newspaper The Saratogian on Wednesday, October 24, 2007:
James Mack Saunders
1929 - 2007
James Mack Saunders, 77, of Chester, Texas, and formerly of Argyle passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, at Memorial Health Systems in Lufkin surrounded by his loving family.
James was born Feb. 25, 1930, in Argyle, the son of Leland A. Saunders and Ethel (Clark) Saunders. He attended Argyle High School and worked at John Whiteside and Sons as a tractor mechanic until he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1950. During that time, he served aboard the USS William R. Rush DD-714 and USS Harlan R. Dickson DD-708. He circumnavigated the world, crossed the International Dateline and the Equator and was initiated into the Royal Order of the Shellback. He was awarded several medals including: United States Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal with European Clasp, China Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Star Attachments, United Nations Service Medal, and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.
On Dec. 17, 1951, Jim was united in marriage with Doris St. Mary at the Centenary Methodist Church in Greenwich. After his discharge in 1954, they established Jador Jersey Farm on Rock Hill in Greenwich, purchased Jim's father's Jersey herd and spent the next 27 years as dairy farmers. Active in both farm and community service, he was a founding member of the Washington County Jersey Cattle Club, a member of the New York State, New England and National Jersey Cattle Clubs and a member of the Washington County Farm Bureau where he served on several committees and was a former director. He served several years on the Policy Committee and lobbied for Farm Bureau issues both in Albany and Washington, D.C. James was the chairman of the Greenwich Planning Board for eight years and chairman of the Greenwich Zoning Commission for six years. He was also a Republican committeeman for many years and was active in the Republican Party, both local and statewide.
James drafted and filed the first New York State Agricultural District in Washington County - the second in New York state.
The Saunders family showed their registered Jersey cattle at the Washington County Fair for many years and Jim spearheaded the campaign to build permanent cattle buildings on the fairgrounds. He also served on the fair's board of directors.
He and his family were members of the Greenwich American Field Service and were host family for a young man from Paraguay.
After the sale of the farm and his retirement in 1982, he worked at various jobs including as horseman at WindSong Farms in Greenwich and as a greenhouse worker at Garden Time in Glens Falls. He also assisted at M. B. Kilmer Funeral Homes.
He became active in the Reunion Association of the USS Harlan R. Dickson DD-708, hosted their 2004 reunion in Saratoga Springs and was serving as secretary for the organization at the time of his passing.
Jim and Doris moved to Chester, Texas, in December 2004 where they bought a small ranch and raised cattle. Jim loved caring for the animals and the farm. In Chester, he continued his community interests: he was faithful at the Cade Memorial United Methodist Church, a member of the Chester Lion's Club, a member of the Tyler County Art League and a member of the Woodville American Legion. He also held a regular seat on the supreme court at the Havis Feed Store!
Jim was predeceased by his parents, his grandson Caleb Snyder and four of his brothers, Leland Jr., Don, Cyril and Robert Saunders. He is survived by his wife, Doris, of Chester, Texas; their children Alexcia Caputo (James) of Jacksonville, Ala., Allan Saunders (Erin) of Richmond, Va., Neal Saunders of Ingleside, Texas and Maurice Saunders (Amber) of Nederland, Texas. Ten grandchildren survive him, Cassandra Sheahan of Saratoga Springs, Astrea Jennings (Charles), Deserae Converse (Wesley), Oatman Saunders, and Logan Saunders all of Richmond, Va., Arlis, Meghan and Emily Saunders of Woodsboro, Texas and James and Michaela Saunders of Nederland, Texas; and six great-grandchildren, Dillon and Damon Rogers and Arianna and Calista Converse all of Richmond, Va., and Via and Secore Saunders of Argyle.
Also surviving are his brothers, Merrill and John (Elsie) Saunders of Argyle; his sisters, Bernice Barbur, Luella Smith (James) and Rebecca Smith (Martin) all of Greenwich and Minnie Minshall of Fort Edward; a sister-in-law Lillian Hakala of Greenwich and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, at the Cade Memorial United Methodist Church in Chester, Texas. A funeral service and Sacrament of Holy Communion will follow at 6 p.m. in the church with Pastor Shirley Brown residing. On Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, another visitation will be held at the M. B. Kilmer Funeral Home, 123 Main St., Argyle, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be conducted at a time to be announced Monday, Oct. 29, 2007, at the funeral home in Argyle. Burial with full military honors will follow at Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Schuylerville, NY.
Donations may be made in Jim's honor to Ronald McDonald House, 139 South Lake Ave., Albany, NY 12208; Hospice in the Pines, 116 S. Raguet, Lufkin, TX, 75904 or the Chester Lion's Club, Chester, TX, 75936.
©The Saratogian 2007
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