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Billy Joe Sanders

Memorial services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at the Upper Hope Cemetery for Billy Joe “Papa” Sanders.

Sanders, 91, went to be with the Lord on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Hobbs.

Pallbearers will be Gary Weber, Nelson Bierwirth and Brandon Rosenbaum. Honorary pallbearers are David Harwell, Clay Mahan and Jeff Mahan.

Bill was born Sept. 12, 1927, in Mosquero to George Washington and Alma Louella (Keller) Sanders. He grew up on the Keller Ranch with his mother, aunts and uncles. He was always very close to his uncle Charles Keller, who was four years his senior.

During World War II, Bill signed up the day he turned 17 to serve in the U.S. Navy. As Midshipman, 2nd Class, he was assigned to the USS Fitch, which was the first ship into Tokyo Bay to pick up survivors of the Bataan Death March. Sitting on top of a five-inch gun on the DD462 USS Fitch, which was moored next to the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Bill witnessed the signing of the Surrender of Japan on Sept. 2, 1945.

In 1947, Bill married Moureen Trimble and moved to Corning, Calif., where he worked as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad.

In 1954, Bill and his family moved to Artesia, where he managed New Mexico Supply Co. Later, he opened New Mexico Supply stores in Albuquerque and El Paso, Texas. Upon the sale of the stores in 1985, he retired in southeastern New Mexico.

Bill was a proud lifetime member of the Elks Lodge. He loved to play golf and fish out on the lake with his family. He was a lifetime Cowboys football fan, and as we’ve compared stories, apparently became a fan of every school that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended.

Survivors include his former wife, Moureen Trimble Sanders; and daughters Charlotte Riker and husband David, Carol Green and husband Jerry, and Deborah McCracken and husband Mike. Bill was also a very proud Papa to six grandchildren: David and Jeremy Harwell, Clay and Jeff Mahan, Jenna Rosenbaum McCracken and Amanda Bierwirth McCracken; nine great-grandchildren: Kacey Roberts, Bailey and Jorie Harwell, Fayth Harwell, Cooper and Connor Mahan, Zackary McCracken and his sister Abigail Bierwirth, and John Rosenbaum; and one great-great-grandchild, Alexi Roberts.

He was preceded in death by his second wife, Rue Dean Sanders, in 2009.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.

Arrangements are under the direction of Terpening & Son Mortuary. Condolences may be expressed online at www.artesiafunerals.com.