Former resident David Michael Saunders Sr. dies at 66


April 10, 2024

David Michael Saunders Sr.

David Michael "Mike" Saunders Sr. was born to Lee and Marie Saunders in Stockton, California, on July 7, 1957. He passed peacefully on Oct. 9, 2023, in Olympia, Washington.

The family appreciates the heartfelt condolences and will hold a service at a later date.

In 1967, Mike and his two older siblings, Cathy and Terry, and their parents relocated from Stockton to Wrangell to fulfill his father's dream of living in the land of opportunity, "where one could fish and hunt until one's cup runneth over," the family wrote.

While living in Alaska, Mike's preferred occupation was to work as a deckhand on commercial fishing boats. Some of these positions were acquired due to his reputation as a great cook.

Mike spent most of his life in Wrangell, but later became a wanderer, curious about the beauty of places he hadn't seen. He made friends from any walk of life, never judging anyone and trusting everyone. "As he traveled across different states, he would enthusiastically recount the sights and experiences he encountered, painting vivid pictures of his journeys to those who listened," his family wrote.

Having been raised in California and Alaska, where he formed deep connections with the sea, he often expressed a longing for the sights and smells of fishing boats and the ocean, accompanied by his need for warm sunshine. He discovered his sanctuary and place of contentment in Maui, Hawaii, where the warm sun and gentle waves offered solace.

Despite occasionally lacking a permanent residence, he found joy in the simplicity of life, often resting in his hammock with the sun on his face and his toes buried in the sand, his family wrote.

"We'll miss his smiling face. He believed in heaven and angels, and we are certain that he is now at peace and content in their presence with the sun in his face and his butt in the sand," the family wrote.

Mike is survived by his children Kristen Johnson, David Michael Saunders Jr. and Ryan Lee Saunders, and bonus daughter Kimberly Lewis-Olds; grandchildren Kylah Giller, Kameron Johnson, Callie Johnson, Galen Johnson, David Michael Saunders III, Ryan Lee Saunders Jr. and Raelynn Saunders; siblings Cathy Kaer and Terry Saunders; and an abundance of nieces, nephews and cousins.


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