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ROBERT ABRAHAM SAUDER


1926 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
ROBERT ABRAHAM SAUDER Obituary
Robert Abraham Sauder died Thursday, January 16, 2014, at Newman Hospital in Emporia, Kan. He was born in Madison, Kan., on Christmas Eve, 1926, blessing the family of Aaron and Bess Sauder. Bob graduated from Madison High School and subsequently joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he served as an aviation metalsmith on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Boxer. Bob then attended the University of Kansas where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. After he left KU, Bob joined his father's business, Sauder Tank Company, in Madison. While visiting his sister in Clarksville, Tenn., Bob met Paula Rudolph and they were married for 62 wonderful years. In 1955, Bob and Polly moved to Emporia, where Bob expanded the business to include pressure vessels and other specialized oil refinery equipment. In the 1960s, Sauder Tank Company became Sauder Industries when they added industrial annealing furnaces to their product line. Bob sold his company to Alaska Interstate in 1969, but stayed on as Vice President of Engineering. Bob's most fulfilling role was in research and development, where he was awarded numerous patents, both foreign and domestic. Several of his favorite inventions included the Port-a-Lift, a vehicle designed to lift an 800,000 pound vessel, the largest item ever shipped by rail at the time, and Pyro Bloc, a high temperature furnace insulation. Pyro Bloc is still produced by Thermal Ceramics and is manufactured and sold worldwide today. In 1964, Bob was invited to the White House to meet President Lyndon Johnson, where he was named one of the top small business owners in America. He was also honored as Regional Inventor of the Year by the Houston Patent Attorneys and was President of the Oklahoma Independent Oil Producers Assn. Bob was also involved in many civic organizations in Emporia. He served on the Emporia School Board, was a board member for the Emporia Chamber of Commerce and the Emporia Country Club, and a director for Emporia State Bank. He was a charter member of the Founder's Society of Emporia State University, a director of Emporia Enterprise, a trustee of the First United Methodist Church, and a member of Emporia Rotary Club, where he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. Bob loved the University of Kansas and enjoyed 58 years as a season ticket holder for Jayhawks football and basketball. Rock Chalk. Bob and Polly loved to travel and enjoyed many trips with friends and family alike. For the last 30 years, they have split their time between their home in Emporia and their home in Naples, Fla., where they made wonderful friends and Bob enjoyed many sunny days on the golf course. They were members of the Naples Heritage Country Club and the Naples Philharmonic. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Mary Frances Murphy, and brother, Leland Sauder. He is survived by his wife, Polly, his son, Paul (Molly) Sauder, Prairie Village, Kan., and his daughters, Anne (Bill) Wall, Clarksville, and Julia (Matt) Werner, Topeka, Kan. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, sister, Carolee Leek, Overland Park, Kan., and his twin brother, Raymond (Barbara), Houston, Texas. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the First United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Emporia or the Emporia Friends of the Zoo in care of Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home.
Published in Kansas City Star on Jan. 22, 2014
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