REIDSVILLE — Died peacefully October 27, 2012. Born September 10, 1920 in Reidsville, NC, son of Richard Robertson Saunders, Sr. and Ruth Clark Saunders. As a boy, growing up on Main Street in downtown Reidsville, he had a pony that was stabled in the family garage. He attended Reidsville HS and graduated from NC College of Agriculture & Mechanic Arts in 1942 (NC State University) with a degree in chemical engineering.
He joined the US Navy and was commissioned a Lieutenant JG and was posted to the US Naval Ammunition Depot in Eudora, KS. He married Minta Wallace McCollum July 22, 1944 and she moved to his new post at the US Naval Ammunition Depot at McAlester, OK, where their first son was born.
After World War II he returned to Reidsville and joined his father in business, selling NC manufactured furniture throughout the region. When his second son was born he wanted to get off the road and spend more time at home. In 1949 he went to work for his father-in-law at the R. W. McCollum Company, a petroleum equipment distributor, in Greensboro, NC as a bookkeeper. He studied accounting, prepared for his CPA exam, and became Secretary/Treasurer of the corporation. In 1963 he purchased the company in partnership with Clyde Sudderth, Ed Stanley and Carl Robertson. He retired in 1990 from the company which still operates today at the same location.
He was a member and Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Reidsville and a member of the Masonic Lodge. He was the co-Scoutmaster with C. A. "Chubby" Meyers of Boy Scout Troop 14. They were active leaders and avid campers. He taught his Scouts how to make a bow from a hickory stave with just a piece of glass and how to make furniture with sticks and rope. They started Explorer Post 14 and taught sailing to the new Explorers. His son, Dick, tapped him into the Brotherhood of the Order of the Arrow in 1961. When his daughter, Clara, and her friend, Julie Gwyn, lacked one camping trip to achieve the Curved Bar in Girl Scouts the local council was petitioned. He took them on his next camping trip where he taught them astronomy and assisted them in meeting the requirements for their two final merit badges.
He loved playing golf and was a member of Pennrose Park Country Club in Reidsville where he played regularly with Bill Nichols, Leon Niegelsky, Bullet Moore, Kip Payne, and Hubert Ware. He was the proud holder of two hole-in-one awards and a certificate of completion from the Old Course at St. Andrews where he played with his son, Reuben, in 1994. He was still enjoying the game at 91.
He was an avid fan of the NC State Wolfpack and was sorely disappointed when his children chose to attend Carolina and Duke. At one time he had his three children and his wife simultaneously enrolled in college. He loved to travel and to teach - taking his children and later his grandchildren on many exciting trips worldwide - Kenya, China, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, France, England and Scotland.
In 1957-58 he drafted his own architectural plans and oversaw the construction of a new home on Parkway Blvd. in Reidsville. He never found a problem or task around the house - whether electrical, plumbing, mechanical or construction - that he could not master. He was accomplished with any manual task - experimenting and becoming proficient with model boat building, crocheting, cooking, and painting and played the oboe and clarinet in the local adult symphony. He was an avid reader and a life-long learner with an inquisitive mind - traits he imparted to all of his children.