Thomas Michael Sanders
March 17, 1948 - January 8, 2021
Thomas Michael “Sandy” Sanders, age 72, passed peacefully into the afterlife on January 8, 2021, in his home with his wife, Barbara by his side. Sandy was diagnosed with gastroesophageal cancer, a terminal diagnosis, about two years ago, and bravely fought for his life until all options had been exhausted.
Sandy was born March 17, 1948, to Robert and Bonice Sanders in Fresno, California. He was born the second of four children and his family was able to travel regularly due to Robert Sanders’ service in the Air Force. They were mostly based in the United States but spent four years in Japan. He graduated from high school in Florida.
After graduation Sandy enlisted in the Marine Corps for four years, during which time he fought in the Vietnam War and was stationed in Vietnam and the Philippines. Sandy transitioned from the Marines to the Army National Guard where he spent sixteen years before retiring from service.
In 1970, Sandy was briefly married to his first wife and would find out twenty plus years later that he had a daughter he never knew about but would grow to love deeply.
Sandy met the love of his life, Barbara Mabe on December 31, 1971, and the couple married on December 31, 1972. Over the next ten years, the couple welcomed three children.
Sandy had many jobs that he loved over his working career. Among them were firefighter at RDU airport, EMT, and truck driving. He was a gun enthusiast and had many interests, including hunting and fishing.
Sandy enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He had a big heart and never hesitated to help anyone he could. He never met a stranger and loved talking to anyone he met. He will be deeply missed.
Sandy was preceded in death by his parents, grandson, Andrew Haupt, brother-in-law, Bill Whitaker. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Sanders of Durham; four children: Teresa (Randy) Minotti of Venice, FL, Robbie (Miranda) Sanders of Kannapolis, Rebecca (Henry) of Speedwell, VA, Ronnie (Mandy) Sanders of Franklinton; fifteen grandchildren: Lauren and Vincent Minotti of Venice, FL, Savanna and Evan Sanders, Colby and MacKenzie Burris, and Kamille Alfonzo of Kannapolis, Jordan, LeeElla, and Emily Williams of Austin, TX, Lillie and Aaron Haupt of Lancaster, SC, Sebastian and Mason Haupt of Speedwell, VA, Cooper Sanders of Franklinton; three siblings: Roniece (Jesse) Peralta of Pahrump, NV, Sandra (Mickey) King of Panama City, FL, Jess (JoAnn) Sanders of Simpsonville, SC; sister-in-law: Wanda Whitaker of Walnut Cove; two brothers-in-law: Jim (Susan) Mabe of Winston-Salem, David (Teresa) Mabe of Walnut Cove; numerous nieces, nephews, and other extended family members; plus many loving neighbors and friends.
Due to Covid, a memorial service will be determined at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to any food charity or feeding program of the donor’s choice.
The family would like to thank Kindred Hospice of Oxford for the care of Sandy and his family.
Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor in Durham is serving the Sanders family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Michael Sanders, please visit our floral store.