Old soldiers never die they just fade away. (General Douglas MacArthur)
It has happened. Walter Saunders, 95, has passed into the future on August 1st, 2020 at his home in Richland, Oregon, ten steps from where he was born. He was born on April 14, 1925. He visited many places in this world but Eagle Valley was his home. Because of combat in World War II, he said, “I cannot forget what I want to forget and I cannot remember what I want to remember.”
The Bend Heroes Foundation gave Walter a WWII Honoree which says: Activity During WWII: Private first class, was drafted into the army on 28th of March 1944 at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. After he trained in intelligence and reconnaissance, he served in European Theatre of War with 20th Armored Division, 65th Armored infantry battalion as a scout, rifleman, and reconnoitered forward positions of the enemy. He also spent time attached to 20th tank battalion where he manned a 50 caliber machine gun on the turret of a tank and reconnoitered forward at night searching for intelligence on enemy positions. His unit, the 20th armored, 42nd infantry regiment, 45th infantry division liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp. He lost the hearing in his left ear as a direct result of his duties. He was awarded the combat infantryman badge, presidential unit citation, bronze star for meritorious achievement, and other medals.
After military service, he worked many different jobs including sheep herding, carpentry work, ranching, and elementary teaching. In all these capacities, he made an abundance of friends and mentored many people. Some have said he was a father figure that influenced their lives. Walt's mind was quick to the end of his life, which allowed wonderful visits by friends and family. He loved writing and wrote many letters every week.
He was the youngest of nine children and was preceded in death by all of his brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, his first wife, Geneva, his second wife, Phyllis, his dear friend Aggie, and his granddaughter, Hilary.
Walt is survived by his three children: Jan Bonn and her husband Anthony and their three daughters, Irene, Elizabeth, and Gabrielle; Peggy Webster and her husband Calvert; Wade Saunders and his wife Kathy, and their two children Christopher and Chelsea; eleven great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A Graveside Service with Military Honors will be held on August 10, 2020 at 10:00 AM in the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, Oregon. Our concerns of the Covid virus has provided many discussions, so those who wish to attend will be expected to follow the state required guidelines which include keeping a safe distance, required masks, and hand sanitation. Chairs will not be provided. Please bring your own chair for your own comfort.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Walt, may do so to the Hilary Benevolent Fund through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home & CS - PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Walt (Jr) Saunders, please visit our floral store.