Robert Abraham Sauder
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Robert Abraham Sauder died Thursday, January 16, 2014 at Newman Hospital in Emporia, KS.
He was born in Madison, KS on Christmas Eve, 1926, along with his twin brother, Raymond. They blessed the family of Aaron and Bess Sauder, and their three older children, Mary Fran, Carolee, and Lee.
Bob graduated from Madison High School and subsequently joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as an aviation metalsmith in World War II on the aircraft carrier USS 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 redwood tank business, Sauder Tank Company in Madison.
While visiting his sister in Clarksville, TN, Bob met Paula Rudolph on a blind date, and they were married for 62 wonderful years. In 1955, Bob and Polly moved to Emporia, where Bob expanded the business to include making pressure vessels and other specialized oil field equipment. In the 1960s, Sauder Tank Company became Sauder Industries when they began making industrial furnaces as well as oil field equipment. Bob sold his company to Alaska Interstate in 1969, but stayed on as a consulting engineer.
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 steel vessel, the largest item ever shipped by rail at the time, and Pyro Bloc, a high temperature furnace insulation product with a concealed fastener. Pyro Bloc is still produced by Thermal Ceramics and is manufactured and sold worldwide today.
In 1967, 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 a past Emporia Gazette Man of the Week.
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 member of the First United Methodist Church, and a member of Emporia Rotary Club, where he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Bob was a proud member of the Rusty Zipper Coffee Club and an avid golfer. He loved the University of Kansas, and enjoyed 58 years as a season ticket holder for Jayhawk 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, Bob and Polly have split their time between their home in Emporia and their home in Naples, FL, 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; his sister, Mary Frances Murphy, and his brother, Leland Sauder.
He is survived by his wife, Polly; his son, Paul (Molly) Sauder, Prairie Village, KS and his daughters, Anne (Bill) Wall, Clarksville, TN and Julia (Matt) Werner, Topeka, KS. He is also survived by ten grandchildren, Bobby (Lacy) Sauder, Ben and Libby Sauder, Katy (Aaron) Olita, Julia (Greg) Bayles, Neely Wall, and Annie, Elizabeth, Austin, and Meg Werner; three great-grandchildren, Charlie and Polly Olita, and Dagon Sauder; his sister, Carolee Leek, Overland Park, KS; and his twin brother, Raymond (Barbara), Houston, TX.
A Memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 25th at 2 p.m.
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.
You can leave online condolences at www.robertsblue.com.
Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, 605 State St., Emporia, KS 66801; (620) 342-2134.
Roberts-Blue-Barnett - Emporia
605 State Street
Emporia, KS 66801
Published in The Leaf Chronicle on Jan. 23, 2014