AUBURN – John James Saunders of Buckfield died Sunday, April 24, at the Hospice House, with his loving family and friends by his side.

John was born in Lewiston on June 7, 1948, the second son of Ashley and Eleanor (Goffin) Saunders. He grew up in Hebron and spent a few years in Bath, attending schools in both towns. He worked for Rangeley Heel and the Maine Department of Transportation.

On June 27, 1981, he married the former Cheryl LaPointe at Sacred Heart Church in Auburn. After living in Auburn for a couple years, they made their home in Buckfield and Sumner, where they raised their two sons, Jimmy and Jason. John loved spending time with his boys, whether it was watching them at their sporting events when they were growing up or taking them on camping, fishing and ice fishing trips.

For several years, John and Cheryl were involved in Operation Santa, an organization that provides toys for underprivileged children at Christmas. Together with their good friends, Wayne and Thelma Gurschick, they would shop for Christmas presents, making sure the children in Buckfield would have something under their tree.

John enjoyed watching NASCAR races and spending time with his many friends. There was always an endless number of stories to be told. The family would like to express their appreciation to his friends for giving John many wonderful memories, especially Gilbert Donahue, his friend for over 45 years; Wes Danforth, who John referred to as his brother; his fishing buddy, Steve Wade; and Wayne, who helped him through many of life’s challenges.

John is survived by his wife, Cheryl Saunders of Buckfield; his two sons, James L. Saunders and Jason A. Saunders, both of Sumner; his three brothers, Andrew Saunders and his wife, Pauline, of Buckfield, Arlan Saunders and his wife, Debbie, and Rodney Saunders, all of Hebron; three aunts, Helen Poirier, Kay Saunders and Vidy Watson; his in-laws, Fred and Geri LaPointe of Lewiston; Cheryl’s sister and brothers; several nieces and nephews; a very special great-niece, Nikki Saunders; and his very special cousin, Joyce Doyle and her companion, Albert Reno of Bath. He will be sadly missed by all his friends, especially Natalie Arris and her children, Brooke and Caleb of Buckfield and Priscilla Moreau and her children, Dominque and Jordan of Arundel.

He was predeceased by his parents, Ashley and Eleanor Saunders; his uncles, James Davis and John Goffin; and an aunt, Mary Davis.

The family wishes to express their gratitude to Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice for their loving care of John.

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