In loving memory of
Thomas Eugene Sanders
  • March 20, 1938
  • -
  • July 25, 2017

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Thomas E. Sanders passed away peacefully on July 25, 2017, under the care of Hospice of Marion County. He was born March 20, 1938, to Henry J. Sanders and Verma Simmons Sanders in Stephenville, Texas. As a young man, he graduated from Texas Tech University with both a BS in Math and a Master’s in math and statistics. While attending college he joined Delta Tau Delta.

Upon his graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy, attended Officer’s Candidate School and volunteered for the submarine service. He proudly served 30 years, retiring in 1991 as a Captain in the Navy Reserve. In retirement, he served as a Blue and Gold Officer for the US Naval Academy.

While in the Navy he was stationed in Pearl Harbor and Yokohama. He enjoyed learning new languages and Japanese was no exception.

In 1970, he met his future wife Mary Lois in Waco, Texas, while she was studying for her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Voice & Opera at the University of Texas, Austin. They dated long distance for many years and on February 1st, 1986, they wed.

Thomas enjoyed working for AT&T. He worked for AT&T International in Iran for 2 years where he could still be an active duty reservist for the Navy. He would retire from AT&T in 1999 after 30 years.

He and Mary Lois moved to The Villages in 2003. After the move, he became a very active volunteer: as a member of CERT, teaching safe driving courses for AARP and coordinated the course schedules. Tom was president of the GEM club for many years, was a founding member of Brothers in Song, a founding member of Brownwood Baptist Church of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida.

He never missed any Big 12 sports, loved to travel, and watch Yankees and Spurs games. He was a member of the American Legion Post 347 in Lady Lake and never let anybody forget how great our military is.

Tom is survived by his loving wife, Mary Lois Sanders; nephews Eric (Heather) Sanders, William (Amy) Sanders, and niece Sue (John) Basile, and cousin John Earl (Becky) Simmons. The list of survivors includes many great friends and distant relatives. There will be a memorial service celebrated on September 22, 2017 at 11:00 in the New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages. A graveside service will be at 11:00 October 7, 2017  at Pecan Cemetery, Dublin, TX.

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  1. 18 Aug 2017
    Robert (Bob) Busby says:
    Tom will be missed by all who knew him and will never be forgotten.

  2. 03 Aug 2017
    Allennita Cooks says:
    Mary Lois, heartfelt sympathy, love and prayer for strength go out to you and family. We love you.

  3. 02 Aug 2017
    Chester Kowalski says:
    On behalf of AARP District 013 Smart Driver Instructors, we'll miss the support and leadership that Tom provided to each of us
    during his position of District Coordinator. Our prayers are we the family members and may God Bless them.

  4. 02 Aug 2017
    Chester Kowalski lit a candle:
    Lit since August 2, 2017 at 8:48:03 PM

  5. 02 Aug 2017
    Chester Kowalski says:
    On behalf of the AARP, District 013, Smart Driver Instructors, we will miss Tom's support and leadership, he gave, to each of us. The Group's prayers are with the family and we'll never forget Tom's contribution to the Organization, the Instructors and The Villages, FL.

  6. 02 Aug 2017
    Kathy L Ottalagano lit a candle:
    Lit since August 2, 2017 at 8:18:55 AM

  7. 02 Aug 2017
    Kathy L Ottalagano lit a candle:
    Lit since August 2, 2017 at 8:18:04 AM

  8. 01 Aug 2017
    Ivan & Marjorie Joslin says:
    Mary Lois, our prayers for you will continue just as faithfully as they have been with Tom since his diagnosis. I enjoyed our singing together in Brothers In Song, but particularly enjoyed our time together as the only two Submarine Qualified Captains in the USSVI Sea Dragon Base here in The Villages. He was a fellow Christian and a great Chaplain & Submarine Shipmate!
    We also shared GEM ownership in the Club.
    May God's peace and grace engulf you as you heal from your loss.

  9. 01 Aug 2017
    Donald L Johnson, EM1(SS) USN Retired says:
    I didn't have the privilege of knowing Tom, but I have known men like him. As a Dual-member of USSVI Seadragon Base, and as Chaplain of USSVI Wahoo Base, I send our Condolences and Prayers to the family and friends of our Departed Shipmate. May God's Grace flow over all of us, providing Comfort and Strength in this time of sorrow and loss.

    Our Shipmate has gone from us. Having received his Final Orders, he has departed on Final Patrol, and now serves on the Staff of the Supreme Commander. No more in this life will we see his smiling face, hear his laugh, or share a beverage and a story or three. But by Faith we know we shall all meet again, when our own Final Orders are issued. Until then, all whose lives Tom touched carry a part of him within them, in their Hearts and in their Memories. As long as we remember, he is not truly gone.

    Bon Voyage, Shipmate, Until We Meet Again. Sailor, Rest Your Oars.

  10. 31 Jul 2017
    Sandi Newmark & David Rosen says:
    So sorry for your loss, Mary Lois....warm wishes and thoughts for your future.

    Sandi Newmark & David Rosen

  11. 31 Jul 2017
    Maggie Anderson says:
    My sincere sympathy to you and your family, Mary Lois. I will continue to keep you in prayers. God Bless.

  12. 31 Jul 2017
    Mark & Linda Newhouse says:
    Rarely comes such a dynamic duo as Tom and Mary Lois. They have brightened so many lives a candle does not say it all. God bless and keep you always.

  13. 30 Jul 2017
    Jim & Sherry Page says:
    We share your grief of your husband's passing. I never met Tom, but judging from his obituary and comments you've expressed during our FLA sessions, he seems to have accomplished a feat few men ever experience; as a patriot, who squeezed all his imaginable ambitions and joys into a single life span. Jim & Sherry Page.

  14. 30 Jul 2017
    June Gist says:
    So sorry to hear of your loss.
    May God grant you peace.

  15. 30 Jul 2017
    Vic Walker says:
    Mary Lois ... Vic Walker and wife (Betty-Jo) wish you to have a short but complete grieving process knowing that Tom is now singing in the greatest choir ever assembled any where. We loved singing with him in Hawaii at the First Baptist Church of Pearl Harbor in the early and mid-60s.

  16. 30 Jul 2017
    David Fuller lit a candle:
    Lit since July 30, 2017 at 7:28:53 AM

  17. 30 Jul 2017
    Wilma Fleming says:
    Dear Mary Lois and family:
    God will keep you in his loving care in the days ahead. Our prayers are with you until we meet again.
    Wilma and Norm Fleming, Warren. PA.

  18. 30 Jul 2017
    Cindy and Sam Poet lit a candle:
    Lit since July 30, 2017 at 7:31:17 AM

  19. 30 Jul 2017
    Thomas Lynch says:
    Grace and peace to you and your family.
    Blessings to you as you enter the presence of God. Enjoy the peace and love of God forever.

  20. 29 Jul 2017
    Dee Dee Dwyer says:
    Mary Lois, I am just now learning of the death of your husband. I am so so so sorry. What agony to lose Tom. Your both went through so much and I hope that you felt the love and prayers from all of us. My heart breaks for you and my prayers continue for you and your family. My love to you, Dee Dee Dwyer ❤️

  21. 29 Jul 2017
    John A. Bird, LCDR, USN-Ret. says:
    So sorry for your loss. As a member of Brothers In Song and Bugles Across America, I would be honored to play Taps for Tom's memorial service if you wish to have a live bugler.
    You can contact me at 352-633-3253.

  22. 29 Jul 2017
    Billie and Bob Thatcher says:
    Prayer, sympathy and love to you, Mary Lois.

  23. 29 Jul 2017
    Sue and Dale carter says:
    Mary Lois,he must have been a wonderful man.i know he married a wonderful and talented lady. So glad you had some wonderful years together, God bless.

  24. 29 Jul 2017
    M.R. Street says:
    Mary Lois,
    I'm sending you and your family my sincere condolences, hugs, and prayers.

  25. 29 Jul 2017
    Collis Hill says:
    Much love comes from the Hill family. Collis, Eva Charlton, and Susie Flores remember being a part of the beautiful wedding of Tom and Mary Lois. Margaret also sends prayers and hugs

  26. 29 Jul 2017
    Cathy A Thek says:
    Dear Mary Lois.

    Our deepest sympathy and know we are praying for you. If you need anything or just need to talk don't hesitate to call. Just remember all the good times and know you will see Tom again.

    Joe & Cathy

  27. 29 Jul 2017
    Linda Chapman says:
    Tom you are certainly with the angels making your wonderful chocolate chip cookies. Your kindness and everlasting smiles bring happiness to all that new you. Mary Lois, all of us and especially your fruit trees will miss you dearly. Rest in peace. You will be dearly missed.

    Your friends.
    Richard & Linda Chapman

  28. 29 Jul 2017
    Nathan Stringer says:
    Tom is a wonderful man and serves as an example for all to follow.

  29. 29 Jul 2017
    Don and Donna Beard says:
    Mary Lois,
    Our deepest sympathy to you at this very sad time. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  30. 29 Jul 2017
    Ruby Jean Summers says:
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Mary Lois. May God be with you as you grieve in your loss of Tom. It was a pleasure to know him and having him in "our" family!

  31. 28 Jul 2017
    Shirley Allen says:
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  32. 28 Jul 2017
    Linda McClung says:
    I so appreciate all the hard work and dedication that Tom gave to Bridgewater Baptist. I thank God for his friendship.

  33. 28 Jul 2017
    Pam Marmon lit a candle:
    Lit since July 28, 2017 at 7:35:03 PM

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