JAY — Bob Sanders was remembered Friday for his unselfish dedication to helping others, his sense of humor and his duty to public service. The 57-year-old town employee died Thursday during his second struggle with cancer this year.

A benefit spaghetti dinner was expected to go on Saturday as planned, to help his family.

Sanders, Jay’s supervisor of the town’s transfer station and part-time police officer, was diagnosed in March with lung cancer. After going through treatment, doctors cleared him of cancer in June. But it came back this fall in the right lung and had spread to his spine and ribs.

Sanders was to be in his second week of cancer treatment this week and had talked about his cancer on Dec. 11 in an interview with the Sun Journal. He knew the treatment wouldn’t clear him of cancer but had hoped it would buy him a little time.

He was not shocked that he had gotten lung cancer twice after 45 years of smoking, he said, but he hoped his story would make some young kid think twice about picking up a cigarette.

Ironically, Sanders had quit smoking the week before he was diagnosed with cancer in March.

Sanders grew up in Livermore Falls and moved to Jay in September. Sanders put on spaghetti dinners frequently at the First Baptist Church in Livermore Falls to benefit the Christian Children’s Camp. The Vietnam veteran also dedicated 10 years to both Cub and Boy scouts and five years to the Area Youth Sports.

Sanders also helped the elderly. He recounted last week answering a dispatch call from a senior citizen who needed two light bulbs changed. After his shift was over he went over and changed the light bulbs for her.

“Bob wanted to make it to Christmas but God had other plans,” police Chief Larry White Sr. said. White and Sanders had become close friends through the years with Sanders working as a police dispatcher hired by a former police chief, and then as a part-time officer. Sanders left his dispatching job in 2005 to become coordinator of the town’s transfer station and recycling center.

Sanders was also White’s sidekick Sammy Swat, a clown, during his visits to schoolchildren to talk about safety during Halloween. Sanders dressed in camouflage clothing and wore camouflage paint on his face when he visited the schools and joked around with children.

White has been spearheading a benefit dinner with the help of other town workers, community members and Sanders’ friends, from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 to help Sanders and his family with expenses.

“The benefit dinner will go on in memory of Bob,” White said.

“I’m really glad we’re going forward with the benefit,” Town Manager Ruth Marden Cushman said Friday. “Bob would have wanted us to continue with the dinner to benefit his family.”

Cushman hired Sanders as the transfer station coordinator. When she asked departments to bring cost saving measures, he brought back several, including burning waste oil to heat the solid waste building and office.

“He’s going to be sorely missed by everyone,” Cushman said. “Especially his special sense of humor and his dedication to being of service to other people.”

The Jay town office and transfer station will be closed from 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Dec. 21, to allow town workers to attend Sanders’ funeral service.

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Bob Sanders of Jay was remembered Friday for his dedication to helping others.


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