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Robert Sanders, 90, Wellsville


Robert Sanders, 90, passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the Hart Comfort House.  We are deeply grateful, as was he, for the excellent care, company and compassion he was given there.  He was born May 22, 1932 in Millfield, Ohio the son of the late Dr. Clarence and Lucille (Bradfield) Sanders.  He graduated from Chauncey-Dover High School in 1950.  On March 20, 1958 in Erie, PA, he married his wife of fifty-six years, Susan Boyle, who predeceased him on April 6, 2014. He missed her so deeply we suspect he waited the nine years to join her just to see the grandkids launched.

Bob has resided in Wellsville since 1966.  He served with the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956, one of the most trans-formative of his life decisions.  He graduated from the State University of New York. He was employed for a total of thirty-two years as a Technical and Vocational Instructor by the United States Air Force, Allegany County BOCES, and Alfred State College, from which he retired in September of 1995. His lifetime calling of teacher and mentor began, however, when he was recruited by the Boy Scouts of America to lead as a teenager.

For many years he was a member of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors.  He was a charter and life member, Secretary and Trustee of the Pittsburgh, Shawmutt and Northern Railroad Historical Society.  For forty years he was active in its restoration, and a fixture of welcome and stories during the Allegany County Fair. Bob was an avid model airplane fan for over fifty years, and was a member of model organizations in several states.  Locally, he was a Secretary and Director of the Wellsville Area Small Plane Society (WASPS).  He was a lifelong member of the Christian Church of Millfield, Ohio.

Bob was a familiar figure at the David A. Howe Public Library as an enthusiastic patron of what he considered Wellsville’s greatest asset. In addition to his book consumption, he fully enjoyed the performances, music and lectures offered there. Music was a great source of pleasure to him, as was working in his shop. Bob and Susie were of one mind: hobbies and continued learning throughout life are essential to growth and happiness. Bob was truly interested in people, and delighted in exploring the differences in how people viewed the world. He was the essential family man. He was also a mischievous practical joker and world class punster. In 1947, at the age of fifteen, he and his Uncle Barney perpetrated a UFO hoax in Millfield so successful that he feared arrest, but now, sixty-seven years later, no worries–the “UFO crash site” is commemorated by a plaque.

Bob is survived by a son, Steven (Yum) Sanders of Wellsville; a daughter, Shelly (Barry) Dunne of Wellsville; four grandchildren, Jasmine (Casey Maglier) Sanders of Wellsville, Matthew Sanders of Wellsville, Meredith Dunne of Norfolk, VA, her fianceé Greg Whalen, and James Dunne of Wellsville. He is survived by many beloved nieces and nephews in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Kansas. He is also survived by his (foster) brother, Ronald Freeman of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by an infant sister, a brother, William Sanders, and a sister-in-law, Margaret Sanders.

Friends are invited to a celebration of this extraordinary life on Friday, March 31, 2023 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons funeral Home, 34 West State Street in Wellsville. The funeral will be Saturday, April 1, at 11:00 am in the funeral home with Rev. Bill Willson presiding. Please consider memorial donations to the David A. Howe Public Library, 155 N. Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895. To leave online condolences, please visit

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