Memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 9, at the Upper Hope Cemetery for Billy Joe Sanders of Artesia, N.M.
Billy Joe (Papa) Sanders went to be with the Lord on the morning of October 9, 2018 in Hobbs, NM at the age of 91. There will be a memorial on February 9, 2019 at the Upper Hope Cemetery at 11:00. Honorary Pallbearers are David Harwell, Clay Mahan, and Jeff Mahan. Pallbearers are Gary Weber, Nelson Bierwirth, and Brandon Rosenbaum.
Bill was born on September 12, 1927 to George Washington and Alma Louella Keller Sanders in Mosquero, NM where he grew up on the Keller Ranch with his Mother, aunts and uncles. He was always very close to his Uncle Charles Keller who was four years his senior.
During WWII, Bill signed up the day he turned 17 to serve in the US Navy. As Midshipman, 2nd Class, Bill was assigned to the USS Fitch which was the first ship into Tokyo Bay to pick up survivors of the Bataan Death March. Sitting on top of a five-inch gun on the DD462 USS Fitch, which was moored next to the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Bill witnessed the signing of the Surrender of Japan on Sept 2, 1945.
In 1947, Bill married Moureen Trimble and moved to Corning, California where he worked as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
In 1954, Bill and his family moved to Artesia where he later managed New Mexico Supply Co. Later, Bill opened New Mexico Supply stores in Albuquerque and El Paso. Upon the sale of the stores in 1985, Bill retired in Southeastern NM. Bill was a proud lifetime member of the Elk's Club. He loved to play golf, fishing out on the lake with his family, a lifetime Cowboys Football fan, and as we've compared stories, apparently became a fan of every school that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended.
He is survived by his former wife, Moureen Trimble Sanders and their daughters Charlotte and her husband, David Riker; Carol and her husband, Jerry Green; and Deborah and her husband, Mike McCracken. Bill was preceded in death by his second wife, Rue Dean Sanders in 2009.
He was a very proud Papa to six grandchildren who are David & Jeremy Harwell, Clay & Jeff Mahan, Jenna Rosenbaum McCracken and Amanda Bierwirth McCracken. Nine Great Grandchildren who are Kacey Roberts, Bailey & Jorie Harwell, Fayth Harwell, Cooper & Connor Mahan, Zackary McCracken and his sister, Abigail Bierwirth, and John Rosenbaum. One Great, Great Grandchild, Alexi Roberts.
Memorial Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org