Robert M. Saunders ’67

Robert M. Saunders ’67 died on October 9, 2020 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

(The following was published by

Robert “Bob” M. Saunders, 75, passed away on October 9, 2020, three days after his 75th birthday, surrounded by his family. Bob was the oldest son of Orrin B. and Helen H. (Hussey) Saunders. He grew up in Wells and attended Wells High School, graduating in 1961. He attended Bowdoin College and graduated in 1967 with a degree in English. After a short career teaching high school English in Old Town, he was drafted into the army and served in a medical battalion based at Fort Hood in Texas. While his unit was never called to Vietnam, he determined that the position of company clerk would match him to the most favorable duty. So, he gave himself a crash course in typing and shortly thereafter became the indispensable company clerk. After his army service he used his skills in writing and now in typing to launch into his lifetime career and calling as a journalist. Bob started at the Sanford branch of the Journal Tribune as a reporter and worked his way up to become the editorial page editor then managing editor of the Journal Tribune. He was a well-respected journalist and in the words of one of his colleagues, Mo Melshak, “His editorials sang”. Andrew Marsters, a colleague of Bob’s from the Journal Tribune, wrote “His editorials were deeply researched, carefully reasoned and beautifully written.” In 2006 Bob was inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. After his retirement from journalism, he pursued a second career as a contractor. His business was called Fair and Square and the new venture gave him great satisfaction and life balance while earning him a reputation as a meticulous contractor. A lifelong musician, Bob derived great satisfaction from the folk songs he wrote and performed in coffee houses around Southern Maine. Much of his work is posted on YouTube. In an article by Andrew Marsters titled “A view from the Hill: Bob Saunders wouldn’t approve of this column” published in the Portland Phoenix, he states Bob was “happiest in an old Oxford shirt, a very baggy worn sweater, a beat-up baseball hat he found somewhere, and wrinkled khakis.” Bob has been described as dedicated to excellence, generous, soft spoken and thoughtful, but above all an extremely humble and down-to-earth man. Bob leaves behind his beloved wife, Avis; a son, Nathan Saunders, and daughter, Elinor Kurz, and her husband, Justin Kurz. He is also survived by his sister, Barbara MacIntosh, and her husband, Jerry MacIntosh, his brother, David Saunders, and his wife, Jean Saunders; and four grandchildren that brought him much joy. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held next summer at the Unitarian Church in Sanford. At this service Bob’s music will be shared with all attending. In the meantime, Bob would love the world to look up his music videos on YouTube, relax with a beverage of choice, and enjoy his sometimes crusty, sometimes silly, and always irreverent music.


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