Cover photo for John Saunders's Obituary
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John Saunders

December 6, 1938 — November 16, 2023

John Saunders

December 6, 1938 — November 16, 2023

John Paul Saunders, 84, passed away peacefully on 11/16/23 in San Jose, CA.  He was a loving father, grandfather, and devoted husband of Randa LaVerne Saunders.  Born in Carmi, Illinois, John was the oldest of three children of W. Howard Saunders, and Therma I. Mitchell.  John and Randa were married in 1960 after falling in love in Kansas City, Missouri.  They both worked for TWA as reservation agents, but John went on to become a career pilot for the company.  He dedicated 39 years of his life to TWA, where he touched the lives of countless people with his professionalism and expertise.  His initial assignment at LAX inspired their move to California.  After purchasing a home in Long Beach, they started a family with the first of two boys:  Scott Saunders (1970), followed by Mark Saunders (1972).  During his days off John’s adventurous spirit led him to explore many hobbies and interests. He had a special fondness for antique clocks.  He admired the intricate mechanisms and craftsmanship that each timepiece represented.  Every wall in their house showcased the gorgeous clocks he painstakingly restored in his shop.  John and Randa are probably best remembered for their second career as owners of two Baskin-Robbins® ice cream stores.  During the late 80’s and early 90’s, John poured his heart and soul into the business.  He was the boss, but he was also a fatherly life-coach.  He served as a role model for countless young adults, instilling his employees with his core values and strong work ethic.  John and Randa are also remembered for the untimely death of their youngest son, Mark, in 1987.  Mark’s skateboarding accident had a profound impact on the entire family, but John’s grief was softened by the adoption of a new puppy named Murf. Murf never realized what a therapeutic role he served in the family, especially after Scott moved away for college.

In his retirement years John enjoyed remodeling and decorating their vacation condo in Victoria, B.C.  They made many new friends in Victoria and enjoyed spectacular views from their ocean-side retreat.  Unfortunately, a stroke in 2001 left John with aphasia – a speech processing impediment.  However, it didn’t dampen his spirit, or his witty humor.  His love for Randa evolved into a blissful, devoted lifestyle as they grew older.  Their care and support for each other was truly inspiring to anyone who knew them.  Sadly, the onset of Randa’s dementia forced several changes in 2015.  John’s remaining years were spent in care facilities in San Jose.  There he spent cherished time with Scott’s family, and his two grandkids.  With Scott’s help he continued to visit Randa until she passed in 2019.

John Saunders will forever be remembered for his immense talent, his influential presence, and his unwavering love for family. As we bid farewell to this remarkable individual, let us celebrate the vibrant life he lived and the legacy he leaves behind.

John is survived by his younger brother William (Bill) Saunders, his son Scott Saunders, his daughter-in-law Shannon Saunders, and his grandchildren, Liam and Ava Saunders.  He is preceded by his sister Carol Ann Saunders, his son Mark Saunders, and his wife Randa Saunders.

The memorial service will be on Friday December 8th, at the Forest Lawn Cathedral Chapel, 1500 E San Antonio Dr., Long Beach, CA.  A visitation will begin at 8:30am, with a service at 9:30am.  Immediately following John will be interred with Randa in the mausoleum, across the hall from Mark.

There will be a reception following the interment.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service of John Saunders

Friday, December 8, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Long Beach - Cathedral Chapel

1500 East San Antonio Drive, Long Beach, CA 90807

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