John Hicks Saunders Jr., 95, of Seneca, Oregon passed away at Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day on November 5, 2018. A potluck celebration will be held on Saturday, November 17th at 12:00 Noon at the Seneca City Hall to celebrate John’s life.
John was born on May 8, 1923, in Caverhill, Oregon (between Long Creek and Fox); the fifth child of John and Lillie (Johns) Saunders. He attended high school in Long Creek, Oregon. John served proudly for four years and nine months as a member of the United States Navy as a Seabee. On September 24, 1971, John married the love of his life Yvonne Buchanan in Reno, Nevada.
John was owner-operator of the original Austin House known as the “Y Building” (1948 – 1952) located near where the Austin house currently stands. He became the proud owner of the Bear Valley Store in 1954 until 1980 when he took on various opportunities such as horse logger and brush piler. John accepted a position with the City of Seneca in 1987 as Head of Maintenance, until retiring in 2014 at the age of 91.
John enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting and most of all playing with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. John was proud to have been one of the driving forces behind the design and construction of the Bear Valley Meadows golf course in Seneca, he was instrumental in the establishment of the annual Seneca Oyster Feed which continues to delight the county each year. He was a long-term member of the Elks.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Yvonne Saunders; brother Jim (Norma) Saunders; sister-in-law Gloria Saunders; step-son Gordon (Betty) Beil of Canyon City, Oregon; step-daughter Wanda (Lindsey) Wenick of Bend, Oregon and grandchildren Chris (Erin) Beil of John Day, Oregon, Melissa (Ryan) Pettyjohn of Seneca, Matt (Shannon) Wenick of Seneca, Oregon, Pat (Heidi) Gibson and George (Tia) Gibson. He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren, 11 nephews, 18 nieces, and numerous great-nieces and nephews. John also leaves behind a step-daughter from a previous marriage Sandy Franke and her three children.
John is preceded in death by his parents John and Lillie Saunders; brothers Alfred, Bob, Elmer and sisters Myrtle, Beulah, Sabina, and Francis.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Seneca School or the Seneca Golf Course through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, Oregon 97845.