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Official Obituary of

Lester T. Sanders

December 7, 1935 ~ March 14, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Lester Sanders Obituary

Lester Thomas Sanders, 88, of Defiance, passed away on March 14, 2024, at home.

He was born December 7, 1935 to Lester Merle and Alta Mae (Goodenough) Sanders in Defiance County. He married his square dance partner, Carol Higbea, on October 17, 1959, who survives.

Lester graduated from Defiance High School in 1952 and 4 years later, in 1956 he began two years of service in the United States Army, stationed in Hawaii. Upon his return to Defiance he worked on the family farm, was employed by Johns-Manville and served 2 more years in the Army reserves.  Later he drove straight truck for Dinner Bell for many years. Upon Dinner Bell’s closing he began working for Good Samaritan School as a school bus driver and janitor until his retirement. He especially enjoyed that position as he always loved children and the opportunity to get to know the families from the school. 

He enjoyed working his farm located on the banks of the Maumee River where he and Carol hosted many, many wiener roasts and hayrides for family, friends, church groups and children from the school.  He was always sure to have a pot of ham and beans simmering over the fire. Spending time with family was always important, whether it be in their homes, on a camping trip, a bike trip, a train trip or discovering a new location and adventures on the family’s bi-annual vacation that grew from 9 participants to 28 in the almost 30 years of travel. But his favorite was family time spent at home on the farm with his children and grandchildren rooting on Ohio State, playing hide & seek, giving tractor rides or pitching horseshoes. 

Lester was a faithful member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, rural Defiance County, where he served in many capacities among which included: Sunday School teacher, deacon, president of the church council, and singing in the church choir. He volunteered at the Defiance Hospital, Camp Palmer 4-H camp and for DASH.

Lester is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol, and their children, Darlene (Michael) Hillman of Sycamore IL, Bradley (Cecilia) of Phoenix AZ, and Karen (David) Panella of Burlington KY.  Also surviving are his sister Sarah Jane (Michael) Bennett of Defiance and his sister-in-law, Phyllis Sanders and nine grandchildren: Shawn (Garnet) Hillman, Amber (Brian) Kelley, Joel (Allison) Hillman, Janet (Bryan) Peto, Sarah (Tom) Johnson, Olivia Panella, Lucas Panella, Emily Sanders and Alicia Sanders and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, D. Lee (Kathy) Higbea and Bernadine Higbea of Defiance, and many nieces and nephews. 

He was proceeded in death by his parents, his brothers Jerry and Leslie "Bud" Sanders, and his brother-in-law Carl Higbea. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 22, 2024 from 2:00 - 8:00 pm at Schaffer Funeral Home in Defiance. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 23, 2024 at St. Mark Lutheran Church, with Deacon Amanda Carpenter officiating. Lester will be laid to rest at St. Mark Lutheran Cemetery. 
Memorials are suggested to St. Mark Lutheran Church. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lester T. Sanders, please visit our floral store.

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March 22, 2024

2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Schaffer Funeral Home
529 Jefferson Ave
Defiance, Ohio 43512

Funeral Service
March 23, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Mark Lutheran Church
25950 Nagel Rd
Defiance, OH 43512


St. Mark Lutheran Church
25950 Nagel Rd, Defiance OH 43512
Tel: 1-419-428-2683


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