As we retrace the footprints of Robert Lee Sanders, III., we can only give thanks for the many lives he touched along life’s journey. A self confident man, he was blessed to enjoy many of God’s blessings as a child, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle, and a friend.
Robert began his life’s journey on November 30, 1952, at Arkadelphia, Arkansas as the son of Robert, Jr. and Annie Lou Hill Sanders. He accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at an early age and united with St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Robert was educated in Arkadelphia first attending Peake High school and after integration Arkadelphia High School, where he was the first black quarter-back and graduated in 1970. There he excelled as a student and showed tremendous enthusiasm and excellence in basketball, football, and track. He was the first black to attend Boys State in 1969 and was a founding member of the Arabian Knights Society.
Robert grew up to be a loving, kind and intelligent young man. He furthered his education by attending Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and minor in History 1975.
Robert was blessed with a career of 5 years with the Arkansas School for the Deaf and 30 years with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, enabling him to be a gratifying provider for his family. At retirement he ended his career as a District Manager.
Robert united with Pinella Johnson in holy matrimony October 23, 1976. Together, Robert and Pinella shared a beautiful devotion for one another that radiated like a brilliant and beautiful light for others to emulate. To their inseparable and prosperous union, God blessed them with two lovely daughters, Ashley and Robbie.
As a husband and father, Robert began to feel a strong sense of spiritual assignment to inspire and enrich the lives of not only his family, but everyone he met. Subsequently, at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock, Robert became a deacon, finance manager, served as a Sunday school teacher and was a member of the male chorus.
One of the most notable highlights of his life was in 1996, when he represented the state of Arkansas by carrying the torch for the Olympics which was passed to Muhammad Ali. He was very athletic and ran 4 miles every morning. He possessed his own style and loved music. One of his favorite songs was “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. Being an athlete himself, he was a lover of all sports. He was a diehard Cleveland Browns fan and his favorite basketball team was the 76er’s and the Giants baseball. Robert was a rare “rich gift” who never met a stranger and inspired everyone who crossed his path.
After 59 seasons of life Robert received his blessing of immortality on Saturday, December 31, 2011. He was welcomed home by his parents, Robert Jr. and Annie Lou Sanders.
He leaves to celebrate and honor his life’s journey: a devoted wife of 35 years, Pinella J. Sanders; daughters, Ashley L. Sanders of Conway, Robbie L. Stewart (Waymond Jr.) of Maumelle; sisters, Angela G. Middleton (Frederick) of Arkadelphia, Lillian G. Ball of Arkadelphia; brothers; Larry D. Bailey (Rosemary) of Baltimore, MD, John E. Sanders (Jean) of Arkadelphia, and Mark A. Sanders of Arkadelphia; one sister-in-law; Bessie M. Johnson of Los Angeles, CA; a brother-in-law; Nolan Johnson of Kansas City, MO; a host of relatives, friends, and the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church family.
Mr. Sanders will lie in repose at the funeral home on Thursday, January 5th from 2-6 p.m.
The family will receive friends from 5-7pm Friday, January 6th, 2012 at Eighth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 821 N. Hickory St., North Little Rock, AR 72114.
The last farewell will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of St. Paul AME Church where Rev. T. W. Scott is the pastor. Rev. Milton Graham, Sr., the pastor of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church will render words of comfort.
The committal service and final resting place will be in Richmond Hill Cemetery.
Special thanks to Little Rock Hematology/Oncology Associates staff.