Home > Obituaries > Preston O. Sanders

Preston O. Sanders was born to Naomi Ruth Sanders-Munden on August 21, 1927 in Marion, AL. He was baptized at Berean Baptist Church in 1939 at the age of 12 under the leadership of Rev. E.B. Radden, where he confessed Christ as his Lord and Savior. He attended Lincoln Normal School, a school that was established for the education of freedmen after the Civil War from 1940-1946.

In 1945 he wed the mother of his children. In 1946 he entered the armed forces and was stationed in Adak, Alaska (Aleutian Island) during WWII and was honorably discharged in 1947. In 1947 he moved to St. Louis, MO where he began his career with the government in the Department of Army Records until 1951. He was among the first group of African American men to be employed with Bi-State Public Transportation in 1951-52. In 1952 he began employment with the Aeronautical Chart & Information Center until his retirement in 1982. While employed with the government, he was sent to the Naval Air Station in Alameda, CA where he was licensed in Entomology in March 1967. This educational opportunity with Disease Vector Control was because soldiers were dying in higher numbers as a result of insect diseases than by enemy bullets. This occasion also allowed him to begin Sanders Pest & Termite Control in 1972 where his sons governed the operation with contracts from the government, the Board of Education, hospitals and residential with several employees. When he returned to AL in 1988, he began the Marion Pest Control, where his sons again continued the operation of business.

During his working tenure in St. Louis, he joined the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&AM of Missouri in 1960. He held such offices from Grand Secretary, Grand Jr. Warden, Grand Sr. Warden, Deputy Grand Master to the highest position of Grand Master for two (2) consecutive two-year terms. He was noted the youngest Grand Master of the state of Missouri (at his appointment). In 2004, he received a life membership after 40+ years of uninterrupted service as a Free and Accepted Mason (F&AM).

Additional affiliations include: Square Deal Lodge #159, Royal Arch #59, William Moses #59, Medinah Shriners #39 – Honorary Potentate, Pride of the West (Eastern Star), Heroines Court of Jericho, Daughters of Siren and Ladies of Mercy to name a few.


His Masonic accomplishments far exceed what can be penned in this obit, but to reference just a few would include Bonding, Brothers & Sisters Club, Credit Union, Security Guards, Restored Scholarship funding and last but not least, the BINGO system which to date makes a paramount and sustaining contribution to the Masonic order.

Upon returning to his birthplace, his accomplishments and offices held include: Deacon of Berean Baptist Church, Chairman of the Trustee Board (Berean Convention Center), Chairman of the Berean Head Start, which his mother (Naomi Ruth Munden) pioneered in the early ‘60’s, Trustee Emeritus Marion Military Institute (2007-2022), Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the 500-acre Vaiden Field Airport Authority (1993- 2020) where a once crop-duster airport used as a touchdown field was renovated into a $14 million commercial runway with a pilot lounge, additional hangars, fuel system, air weather station and the Military Institute “Flying Tigers Pilot” program was implemented.

On Sunday, February 19, 2023 Mr. Sanders entered into a well-deserved eternal rest. Preceded him in death was one son, Ralph Sanders. He leaves to treasure his fond and loving memories three sons, Willis O. Sanders (Tameka), Charles L. Sanders (Julie), Michael Sanders and Jacqueline C. Sanders-Jones; 15 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a countless number of devoted family members and treasured friends. He will be profoundly missed.

Visitation will be held Friday, March 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Melvin Miller Funeral Service in Marion. A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, March 4 starting at 12:00 noon at the Francis Marion High School Auditorium.

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