Thomas Michael "Mike" Sanders, 73, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., passed away on Sept. 24, 2013.
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Mike was born May 4, 1940, in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1962, with a bachelor of science in Engineering. He then attended the Air Force's Officer Training School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant as a missile maintenance officer and later a B-52 navigator bombadier. Throughout his career he was stationed in many assignments throughout the country and flew during the Vietnam War. He proudly served 28 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves and retired in 1990 as a lieutenant colonel. After retirement, he spent his years traveling the country, taking care of his parents, attaining a master's degree, and reminiscing the good old days with his Air Force buddies.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, James Otho Sanders and Blanche Lolita Gilland.
Thomas is survived by his daughters, Karen Sanders of Panama City, Fla., and Elizabeth Martinez of College Station, Texas; his son, Lee Sanders of Slidell, La.; grandchildren, Nolen Taricco of Tallahasse, Fla., Sara Taricco of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Beryl Marie Farmer of Slidell, Lee Michael Sanders, Jr. of Slidell, Thomas Noah Sanders of Slidell, Jared Martinez of College Station, Sara Martinez of College Station, and Emily Martinez of College Station; brother, James Sanders of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and niece, Kathy Sanders of Vancouver, Wash.
An inurnment will be held at Barrancas National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.WoundedWarriorProject.org.
Expressions of love and sympathy may be viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com.
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News on Oct. 2, 2013