American Veteran 04

Thomas Joseph Saunders

April 17, 1951 ~ September 9, 2022 (age 71)


Thomas (Tom) Joseph Saunders passed away at home on September 9, 2022 surrounded by his loving family. He never gave up, trying new cancer treatments, undergoing multiple surgeries all the while keeping active with projects at home and supporting organizations that he was committed to helping.

Tom was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 17, 1951 and was the oldest of four children. His family moved to Missouri when he was a teenager. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1969, and was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island until he was honorably discharged.  After leaving the Navy, he made Washington state his home. He held many jobs after his military discharge and eventually hired into The Boeing Company in June 1974. He retired from Boeing on January 1, 2011 after 36 ½ years of service. Tom was always busy. Besides working a full-time job at Boeing, he started a weekend firewood business (White River Firewood) which eventually became Saunders Logging. He quit selling firewood, bought a used Garrett skidder, and began doing small logging jobs on weekends.  After many years of weekend logging, he sold his logging equipment, bought horses and a mule to pack in tools, and began doing trail work for the U.S. Forest Service as a volunteer.  When he could no longer ride horses and do trail work, he looked for something else to stay busy.  He bought a 1987 17-foot Arima boat. After fixing it up the way he wanted, he enjoyed many fishing trips with family and friends. Besides fishing, he enjoyed boating, camping, wood working, hunting, and clam digging. He was a member of the Buckley Log Show committee for over 30 years. He also volunteered with the Navy Sea Cadets (Hornets division) youth program, the Tacoma Maritime Institute and was a member of the Knights of Columbus Rainier Council 9637. Tom was blessed with three children from his first marriage. He met his second wife Susan at Boeing in 1983 and they were married May 1, 1993.  He became a father for the fourth time in 2001 when Tom and Susan adopted their son, and their family was complete.  He was extremely proud of all his children.  His love of family and his strong Catholic faith kept him strong through his battle against cancer.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Joseph Saunders and
Virginia Rose Saunders, his father-in-law George Dinger and three brothers-in-law Russell Edwards, Paul Brock, and Mark Dinger. Tom is survived by his wife, Susan; daughter Darcy Muehlbauer, son Thomas “T.J.” Saunders, daughter Felicity “Felissa” Saunders and son Joseph Saunders; sister Virginia “Ginny” Cross (Gary), brother Robert Saunders (Rosie) and sister Mary McClay (Jon); and many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews, and countless friends.

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