On October 12, 2022, surrounded by his family and care givers, James (Jim) Saunders, 78, was welcomed into the Kingdom where Jesus and his beloved wife Nancy awaited him. ‘Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ Psalm 73: 21-26 Though his flesh failed him, we know that Jim was received into glory with restored strength and clarity of mind!
Jim was born in Glendale, California on February 25, 1944 to Russell and Mary Saunders. He was the baby of the family, being welcomed by his sisters Mary and Caryl. At an early age he showed a talent for gymnastics. His passion allowed him to excel and if you ever asked, he would gladly tell of his success in mastering the Iron Cross. After graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1962, Jim went on to pursue a career in engineering as a planner and cost analyst, working for first Lockheed Martin then later Northrop Grumman. He was part of the team that built the famous B52 Stealth Bomber.
In 1974 Jim’s life would change forever when he was introduced to the love of his life, Nancy. After a quick courtship, Jim and Nancy married and Jim stepped into the role of a loving and supportive stepfather to three adult children and one child that was still at home. He was a devoted husband; providing encouragement and support. In Nancy’s own words, from a personal journal, “Jim is a wonderful husband, he is so patient with me. I love him so.” Their love was a constant reminder of how beautiful a marriage can be. Their home was always filled with family, friends, love and laughter.
Jim accepted Jesus as his Savior on February 18, 1999. Jesus was the center of their home. The impact of their relationship with the Lord would go on to affect the lives of their children and grandchildren. He and Nancy became members of the local churches in the towns they lived. They made wonderful friends in each church they attended throughout the years. Many of those friendships lasting a lifetime.
After retirement, Jim and Nancy made the decision to move to Melba, Idaho. Their days were filled with sporting events and any, and every activity their grandkids were involved in. Grandpa Jim could be found in the top row with his enormous video camera propped on his shoulder. He was a Melba Mustangs fan to the core, often in Melba gear from head to toe.
As a grandpa and great grandpa, Jim was as sweet as they come. Offering hugs, kisses and whisker burns to all. He and Nancy created an incredibly special paradise for their kids and grandkids. A place where love overflowed. No matter their age or health, Jim and Nancy could be found holding hands and exchanging kisses.
Jim lost Nancy on September 20, 2022. After her passing, his family knew he would not want to go on without her. Just twenty-three days after Jesus called Nancy home, Jim was called to His forever home too. They left behind a lifetime of memories, a legacy of love, and a hole in our family that will never be filled on this side of Heaven.
0James is survived by his children Garry (and Evelyn) Swanson of Tehachapi, California; Tia Crank of Merced, California; Mark Swanson of Riverside, California; and Dianne (and Calvin) Owens of Melba, Idaho; his big sisters Caryl Tharp of Colorado and Mary Martin of Oregon; his grandson Derek (and Sarah) Wilson, his grandson Jimmi (and Danielle) Swanson, his grandson Jason (and Amy) Wilson, his granddaughter Jennifer (and Noah) Vasquez, his granddaughter Sarah (and Cody) Ziemer, his grandson Bradley Swanson, his granddaughter Rachel (and Ryan) Ross, his grandson Zachariah (and Samantha) Owens, his grandson Cody Swanson, and his grandson Christian Crank; 20 great grandchildren that he loved and adored. He is also survived by his nieces Lisa and Colleen Rachelle (Ricki) and nephews Russell, Chris, Randy, and Carl.
Jim is preceded in death by his father, Russell Myrth Saunders and mother, Mary Alice; his brother-in-law Bill Tharp; his brother-in-law Wynn Rowell; his son-in-law Roy Darwin (Dar) Crank; and his brother-in-law Richard Martin.
We want to give a special thanks to the care givers at Park Place Assisted Living in Nampa, Idaho. The love, affection, attention, and care you gave Jim the last three years, but especially in his last days, is something we will be forever grateful for. He was blessed to have so many incredible people attentive to all his needs. We also want to thank Journeys Hospice for going above and beyond to show your care and love for Jim and your support and encouragement to our family. God was so good to Jim and Nancy by surrounding them with so many loving and caring people.
A joint Celebration of Life for Jim and Nancy Saunders will be held Friday, November 4th, 2022 at 11:00 o’clock. The celebration will be held at Melba Community Baptist Church in Melba, Idaho. All are welcome!