Remembering Mark Sanders, Jr.
Avid fan of old cowboy movies, soul food/comfort food palate, mild mannered, proud father, mechanic, hard worker, physically strong, family-oriented, culinary expert of rolls, sausage, turkeys, and of course, UNCLE JOON’S award-winning Barbeque! These descriptors only begin to scratch the surface of the essence of the man but not the depth of the man known as Mark Sanders, Uncle Joon, “Me and my Daddy,” Daddy, UJ, Paw Paw, Son, Joon or Mr. Sanders.
Mark Sanders was born in Nowata, Oklahoma on February 28, 1924, even though for most of his 97 years he believed he was a Leap Year Baby. Mark Sanders attended Lincoln Elementary School, Northeast Junior High and matriculated to the “real” Sumner High. After leaving Sumner High School, World War II was already underway. Mark joined the United States Army and was eventually deployed to the Pacific Theatre in the Philippines. Because of his mechanical acumen and his acute understanding of auto mechanics, he was elevated to being a Technician 4th Grade/Sergeant. One of his vivid and favorite memories was being able to pick up Bob Hope who was touring and entertaining US troops. After his honorable discharge from the service in March 1946, he followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the job force working at the Santa Fe Railroad for 38 years. Soon after his employment at Santa Fe Railroad, he married the love of his life, Yvonne Delana Bush. Mark and Yvonne were happily married for 71 years. To the marriage, Mark and Yvonne were blessed with three sons: Michael Leroy, Gerald Dwight, and Geoffrey Delano. One of Mark’s favorite memories was when he won the first American Royal Barbeque Contest in 1980 for his mouth-watering, original barbeque sausage. This win established him as an official KC Barbeque Guru. His prize included an all-expense paid trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and undisputed bragging rights as a barbeque king.
His wife, Yvonne, preceded him in death along with his son, Gerald; his father and mother, Mark, Sr., and Mamie; his brother, Margul; and his sisters, Verdaine and Nadine.
Mark Sanders, Jr. peacefully entered heaven Saturday, April 10, 2021, at St. Luke’s Hospice House.
He is survived by his two sons and their wives, Michael (Ann), Geoffrey (Annice); 6 grandchildren: Tara, Theresa Bew (Jaron), Gabrielle, Andre, Sr, Tamica, and Jeree. Great-grandchildren include: Jaron C. Bew, Jr., Theory Elizabeth Bew, Andre Sanders, Jr., and Noble Brooks.
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life.” Proverbs 10:27
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