The family of Stanley Cole Saunders is saddened to announce his passing on Friday, February 9, 2024. He was 78 years old. A much-loved businessman, his family and friends knew him best as a husband, dad, grandfather, loyal friend, and a humble servant.
Stan was born on July 21, 1945, to the late Stanley Spring Saunders and Ada Cole Saunders. He grew up on his family’s 400-acre farm in Live Oak, Florida, working cattle and managing crops. In his youth, he enjoyed being a member of 4-H and was actively involved in Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and receiving the God and Country Award.
Stan worked his way through college, graduating in 1968 from the University of Florida where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi and Sigma Delta Chi fraternities. His career in journalism was soon exchanged for an apprenticeship in jewelry. In 1976, Stan opened a family-owned and operated jewelry business in downtown Marianna, sharing his talent for custom jewelry and giving many the opportunity to purchase meaningful heirlooms for their loved ones.
Determined to have more time for his family, he retired from the jewelry business to become a Certified General Appraiser. In 2000, he founded a successful property appraisal business that he balanced with a robust travel schedule to be with his family and friends. He loved adventure as much as he loved to work, only recently retiring from his appraisal business.
Through the years he held numerous leadership positions. He was a member and deacon of Eastside Baptist Church, member of Harmony Masonic Lodge (Grand Lodge Officer 1985), Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners, and Order of the Eastern Star. Serving others brought him immeasurable joy. Whether helping a stranger in need or serving as a faithful guardian for the underprivileged, he believed and lived out his calling to serve the least of these and to be his brother’s keeper. For 28 years, he and his best friend, Rich, built churches in Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica under the auspices of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. Wherever he went and whatever he was doing, he wanted to help people, and he wanted them to know that God loved them.
Stan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September 2009, and, despite the harrowing treatments and difficult days, he would always laugh and say, “I’m fine.” With his effortless sense of humor and unshakeable faith, he continued to work and care for others. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and loved ones, who will continue to work and serve others in his honor.
He leaves behind his wife of 27 years, Annie “Sue” Corbin Saunders; six children, Merri Heather Mendenhall , Dr. Stanley Benjamin “Ben” Saunders (Stephanie), Rachael Spring (John) Loukonen, Susan Danielle (Ben) Blackburn, Jessica Nicole (Andrew) Haubrick and Ashley Suzanne (Mike) Signorelli; his grandchildren, Savannah, Sarah, Noah, Zeb, Zoe, Johnny Mac, Jesse, Isaac, Ivy, Elliana, Sebastian, Franklin, Makayla, Brody, Jackson and Emily Ann; his best friend, Rich Mulder; his sisters, Dr. Marilyn Moore and Teresa (Roger) Graham; his brother, Hiram (Emily) Saunders; and many other cherished friends and family. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, John Claire Saunders and Ralph Saunders, and his sister, Rosemary Saunders.
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 17, 2024, at Eastside Baptist Church with Dr. David Beigle officiating. Interment will follow in Pinecrest Memorial Gardens with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing.
The family will receive friends Saturday, February 17, 2024, from 9-10:30 a.m. at Eastside Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Center to continue the research to fight multiple myeloma or the Eastside Baptist Church Building Fund or Mission Trips.
Expressions of sympathy may be made online at www.jamesandsikes.com