Gene Arthur Sanders, 88, of Council Bluffs, died peacefully on Father's Day, June 16, 2013, at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. Visitation with the family is Wednesday, June 19, 2013, from 6 - 8 p.m. and a memorial service is Thursday at 11 a.m., both at Cutler-O'Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel, Council Bluffs, with Rev. Will Reger presiding. Private interment is planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Elk Horn Kimballton Community School Education Foundation or the Lewis-Central Community Schools Education Foundation.
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Gene was born Aug. 12, 1924, in Grand Island, Neb., to Arthur W. and Violet Reed Sanders. A lifelong educator in Southwest Iowa and Eastern Nebraska, Gene began his teaching career in the Promise City School District, moving thereafter to Elk Horn-Kimballton Community Schools as a teacher and coach; later serving as the principal and superintendent. In 1960, Gene became the first principal of the newly formed Lewis Central Junior-Senior High School in Council Bluffs. After leaving Lewis Central, Gene advanced through the administrative ranks of the Pottawattamie County Schools and served on the Area Education Agency 13 Administrative Staff until he retired in 1986.
From 1973 - 1980, Gene was one of 10 select educators who, along with Dr. Harold Gifford of Omaha, developed and implemented the Metropolitan Education Program Agency in Bellevue, Neb. Gene was a charter member of the Southwest Iowa Education Foundation, a past board member of the Lewis Central Education Foundation and was active as an officer and board member of the Vocational Development Center in Council Bluffs for nearly 20 years. In 2011, Gene was honored for his lifelong commitment to educational excellence and career achievement and was inducted to the Lewis Central Hall of Fame.
Gene served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, seeing action at several of the most strategically significant locations in the South Pacific theatre including Saipan, Guam, Peleliu and Tinian. Gene spoke most often of his time at the airfields of Ulithi Atoll, the "best kept secret of the War."
Gene was preceded in death by his parents and step-mother, Mary Bohart-Sanders; his son, Gene Edward Sanders; three sisters, Shirley Waskowiak, Ramona Cox and Sharon Hanssen; brother, Jack Reed Sanders; brother-in-law, Richard Waskowiak; step-sister, Delores Bohart; step-brothers, C.E. (Jim) Bohart and Charles Bohart; and his close friends, Jim Ziolkowski and Gary (Butch) Rogers, both of Council Bluffs.
Gene is survived by his wife, Florence (Betty) Sanders of Council Bluffs; daughters, Jerome (Jerre) and her husband Mark Hunter of Carter Lake; Sherry Davis of Port Townsend, Wash.; Susanne and her husband Roy Bohn of Milano, Texas; and Leslie and her husband Kevin Burr of Carter Lake. Gene has 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Also surviving are Gene's sisters Colleen and her husband Jim Cummings; and Carolyn and her husband Jerry Henke; brother Gary Sanders and wife Jo, all of Grand Island; brothers-in-law Bud Cox and John Hanssen, of Grand Island; Leslie Lloyd Jerome and wife Barb of Council Bluffs; Bill Jerome and wife Dode of Fort Madison; sisters-in-law, Charlene Sanders of Denver; and Marcella (Bohart) Wills of Lincoln, Neb.; friends, Carmen Ziolkowski and Terry Rogers, both of Council Bluffs, and many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends. All are grateful for having shared Gene's life.
Published in The Opinion-Tribune on June 19, 2013
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