Robert Keith Sanders was born November 6th, 1936, the son of the late V. Carroll and Alice E. Glover- Sanders- Gray. He was a graduate of Sheridan High School class of 1954. He served honorably in the United States Navy 1954-1958, attaining the rank of Radarman 2nd Class aboard the USS Cambria. Robert married his true love Donna Richardson Sanders on December 20th, 1959, at the Sheridan United Methodist Church, and together they had two children, Sheryl and Scott. He attended Purdue University on the GI Bill and graduated as part of a class of 46 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1963.
Bob worked as the Manager of Electronic Development (R&D) for the Allison Transmission Division of General Motors Corporation for 29 years. He supervised many electrical engineers, technicians and an extensive development laboratory. Bob developed electronic transmission control systems for off and on highway trucks, large capacity buses, military trucks and tanks, as well as oil well service rigs, locomotives and aircraft engines. Many of these electronic systems are in use today throughout the world on buses and other transportation systems including hybrid vehicles. While on vacation Bob was known to ask bus and van drivers as well as an occasional helicopter pilot how they liked the controls on their vehicle.
He holds nine United States Patents and was a former member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers,
The Purdue Alumni Association, the John Purdue Club and the Purdue Club of Sarasota.
Bob retired in 1992 and spent almost 30 winters in Bradenton, Florida, where he and Donna were active in the Pinebrook/Ironwood golf community. He spent multiple years as president of The Woods Board of Directors and served as President of the Pinebrook/Ironwood Recreation Association. Bob was known to put his electrical engineering experience to good use collaborating with his neighbors to create elaborate Christmas light displays on their six-story condo building that attracted visitors from all over town.
Bob was a man of faith and loved music. He had an early start singing in the church choir and was part of the Centenary United Methodist Church choir in Lebanon since 1971. He continued singing with Faith United Methodist choir in Florida and capped his choir career by performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2017.
Bob was a wonderful father to Sheryl and Scott and was very involved in their activities. He was a President of Boone County Youth Football League and coached football, baseball and basketball. He had a large workshop and was always available to help with 4-H projects and homecoming floats. He also taught Sheryl and Scott to hunt and fish. After retirement he helped manage the family farm, and continued the tradition of an acre family garden, much to the consternation of Sheryl and Scott who didn’t like picking peas and beans. However, he grew many vegetables which neighbors enjoyed along with his own popcorn which was in high demand as a Halloween treat. He and Donna delivered Meals On Wheels for many years and were involved with Boone County Senior Services Inc. Bob loved participating in the Senior Olympics and excelled in numerous events. His final year of participation was 2021 when he won six gold medals, setting his own personal record.
Being in the Navy stoked his love for ships and the open seas. He and Donna loved to travel and enjoyed taking mystery bus trips with local groups from Lebanon and trips to Europe and Israel. His favorite mode of travel was by cruise ship surrounded by his family, and he was fortunate to be able to spend many vacations at sea.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Donna Richardson Sanders and is survived by his daughter Sheryl (David) Cassis, and son Dr. Scott (Michelle Howden) Sanders. He will be missed by his grandchildren: Masin Cassis, Lucie Pauline Cassis, Justin Sanders, Donovan (Taylore) Sanders, Jayden Sanders, Julia Sanders, Nick (Ali Hicks) Laconi and Joe (Valerie Brunso) Laconi.
He is also preceded in death by his brother Wiley (Bud) Sanders and survived by his brother David Sanders of Lebanon, sister-in-law Nancy (Keith) Robb of Bradenton, FL, and brother-in- law John Rockey of Sheridan, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Family and Friends will gather Saturday, January 6, for visitation from 10 am until the time of funeral service at 12 pm with Military Rites at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 910 Fordice Rd, Lebanon. Bob will be laid to rest at Crown View Cemetery, Sheridan . Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Centenary UMC, Lebanon, Sheridan UMC and Six Points Wesleyan Church, Sheridan.