Skip to content Skip to footer

Obituary Notice – MSGT David P. Sanders

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SandersD1SandersD2FREDONIA:  Master Sergeant David P. Sanders, 83, USMC Ret., of Rt. 83, Fredonia, died peacefully in Hospice at Buffalo General, Friday, August 2nd, 2019 after a very brief battle with lung cancer.  He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 25, 1936, the son of the late Joseph H. and Helen R. (Jadric) Sanders.

Mr. Sanders attended St. Jerome’s School and Cathedral Latin School.  Later in life, Mr. Sanders earned his Bachelors of Arts Degrees in Political Science and Sociology from SUNY Fredonia.  His interest in law led him to the elected office as Justice of the Peace in the Town of Arkwright, which he served for 17 years and also served on the Town Board.  He worked as a Welder at Ford Stamping Plant, Woodlawn, for 20 years.

Mr. Sanders joined the Marine Corps in 1953 and retired after 20 years at the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant.  MSGT Sanders was assigned for many years to Marine Helicopter Squadron HMX-1, home of the Presidential Helicopter Marine One.  He served this role under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson & Nixon and was honored with the Presidential Service Medal.  He served several tours in Vietnam, most notably as an aerial gunner, flying “Hueys in VMO-2”, where he was awarded 7 Air Combat Medals, Air Crew Wings and several other decorations & distinctions.  MSGT Sanders continued serving his country and fellow veterans as a Lifetime member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, The Marine Corps League and VFW.  He served in various office roles as well as organized and participated in annual charitable fund raising events for both of these organizations for many years.  MSGT Sanders was also a dedicated supporter of MIA/POW recovery efforts.

“Griz” was fond of children, despite his gruff exterior and provided leadership to many young people through his involvement in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4H.  Mr. Sanders often served as Santa Claus, a tradition he and his wife Alice, carried on since their early years together, when they would help support the families of Marines and Sailors who were assigned overseas and were not able to be with their families.  He was an avid firearms enthusiast with a special interest in black powder muskets and firearms safety.

Mr. Sanders operated Dave’s Musket Shop in Arkwright for a number of years, was involved in Hunter Safety training and was a proud Lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.  “Griz” was a 38 year member of the 9th New York Cavalry, an organization within the North-South Skirmish Association, a national organization dedicated to historical preservation and education centering on the American Civil War.  He also served as a safety inspector and small arms expert for 15 years, helping to ensure the safety of participants in hundreds of sporting competitions.

Survivors include his wife and soul mate of 55 years, Alice M. (Austin) Sanders of Arkwright, six children Jerald (Susan), James (Jamia), Suzanne, Bruce, Timothy, and Paul (Lucia) Sanders.  Also surviving are eighteen grandchildren, twenty four great grandchildren and long-time family friends James (Jill) McKenna their three children and two grandchildren.  Besides his parents he was predeceased by a son Brian Sanders and two grandchildren Toby Brian Sanders and Lisa Dawn Sanders.

Friends are welcome to call at Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, 39 Main Street, Forestville on Wednesday evening from 7-9 PM and on Thursday from 2-4 & 7-9 PM, from where Funeral Services will be held Friday morning at 11 o’clock.  Interment will follow in Forestville Cemetery, where graveside military services will be conducted.

The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made either to Vietnam Veterans of America, The Marine Corps League, any VFW or any other veteran support group.  To post condolences go to

usflagMarine Corps


  • Danny McGill
    Posted August 6, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Chapter 459 Vietnam Veterans of America has lost one of its founding members and a great man. He will be greatly missed Semper Fi brother…RIP
    Danny McGill
    Secretary/Chapter 459

  • Cathy Brewer
    Posted August 6, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    So very sorry for your loss. Praying for the family.
    ~~Cathy Brewer (James & Shannon’s Mom )

  • Alexia Shaw
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Please convey to Alice Sanders my deepest sympathies. When we last saw each other and I am fairly sure it the summer of ’13. Alice was in her lounge chair and I pulled up a stump of wood. We sat for a long time and talked about how long we had known one another, that we both had wonderful but sometimes difficult husbands. Griz will be waiting for you when you go to join him. We are still here, not without our issues, but keeping busy, still a little crafting. I have not been to Nationals since ’14. Those visits we managed to fit in, were my favorite times.

  • Stephanie Sanders
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I am extremely lucky to have a dad and a grandma and grandpa and uncles and aunts and cousins that didn’t just love me because they had to because we’re related. They chose to love me. They chose to be my family and let me join their very, very strange clan… and never made me feel like I wasn’t one of them. They are unique in so many ways… My dad has been my dad since I was 2 and he never once in my life treated me like I was anything but his daughter… not once. And I have never thought of him as anything other than my Dad, whether our DNA matched or not. And just like me, he has a dad, and their DNA doesn’t match either, but my dads dad got to choose him too! Just like me! That makes us and our dads very special, and very unique. We loved each other because we wanted to. We got to choose each other! I couldn’t imagine having any other dad… he’s the best man I know, and he learned how to be a dad from my grandpa, who chose all of us! Which makes our family pretty freaking awesome! And of course… my grandpa is Santa Clause so… there’s that… my family is pretty much the coolest family ever!

    My family just lost my grandpa. His massive arms protected and guided our family. Our entire family that he chose to love and lead. He had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass and the doctors said we may have him for a few more years… that was 25 years ago! He is as strong as they come. He is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met and I was lucky enough to be his granddaughter.

    I wasn’t born a Sanders…. I had to fight my whole life to official be a Sanders… Even in marriage I kept and wore the Sanders name proudly… and will continue to be a Sanders until the day I die. Having DNA in common isn’t what makes you a family. It’s the genuine acceptance, unconditional love and gratitude for each other that truly makes us family. I wouldn’t be who I am without my dad and his guidance and influence in my life. He learned what being a dad truly is from my grandpa and I am so proud to have had the privilege of being loved by both of them. I will miss you grandpa. You definitely made this world a better place and you will be greatly missed.

  • Michele Klepfer
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Ron and Paul, Sorry about the loss of your dad/uncle. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this sad time.

  • Lori Moodie
    Posted August 7, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    I would like to offer my condolences to Jerry, Susie and his family. Jerry your dad sounds like an amazing man with so many unique life experiences. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Danny McGill
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I had already expressed condolences on behalf of Chapter 459 as seen above. I received the following from Mr John Rowan I had forgot to pass along. He is our National president of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

    I am sorry to learn of your loss. Please extend our condolences to his family and friends and the members of Chapter 459. With deepest regards,

    John Rowan, pres. & CEO
    Vietnam Veterans of American

Leave a comment


+ 1 = three