John Sanders was a nice guy who will live forever
John Sanders has gone to his rest and reward. He was a nice guy.
Always a quick smile on his tanned, handsome face, followed by a kind word, or funny comment, as he passed in the halls of Barnwell First Baptist, the bank he managed, local restaurant or any where you saw him in Barnwell.
On Sunday mornings John started the devotion for the senior women's Sunday school class. These women had been members of First Baptist for decades. He'd read the announcements, had the prayer, then leave to attend his own class. The ladies did so enjoy how attentive he was.
My husband and I sat behind his family during the worship service. John's wife, Ernestine, sang in the choir, so John had the kiddy duty of their children and later the grandchildren. I loved to see the Sanders children come into the sanctuary after Sunday school. When they spotted their grandfather it was a mad dash up the isle to tell him about what they learned and the drawings they made. John would smile, listen to them and embrace each child. Many times one of the children could not stay awake during the service and were draped over John's shoulder, drooling on his jacket. He was a nice guy.
This will stand out in my mind forever. Willise Keel, whom I love, was elected the first woman deacon of Barnwell Baptist.
It's the custom of our church that the deacons assist the pastor in administering Holy Communion to the congregation. The deacons were called to the front of the church and sat together on the first pew.
Murray Keel, Willise's husband, liked to sit so far back in the church he was almost in the parking lot. So, it took Willise longer than the others to get down the isle. All the other deacons were seated by the time she got there and the front pew was full.
John Sanders was sitting on the end, looked over his shoulder and saw Willise take a seat in the next row. He jumped up, took her by the arm and seated her in his place, in the front and he sat behind the other deacons.
This might not seem like a big deal, but to me it was monumental. It was a kind, thoughtful and gracious act by a Godly, decent man.
That was John Sanders, a nice guy who will live forever.
Linda Murphy Myrick,
Red Oak Community
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