Cover photo for Willie (JR) Sanders's Obituary
1947 Willie 2023

Willie (JR) Sanders

August 5, 1947 — June 5, 2023

We rejoice for JR because he knew without a doubt to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and he now resides in the heavenly place prepared for him.

Willie (JR) Sanders, was born in Port Chester, NY to Willie Sanders Sr., and Mary Wright Sanders on Tuesday, August 5, 1947. He was surrounded by his devoted wife, Joyce and beloved family and friends. He entered into his sunset on Monday, June 5, 2023 in Albuquerque, NM after he bravely fought an extended illness.

JR was preceded in death by his father; his sister, Geri Sanders; his paternal grandparents, Harrison and Janie Sanders; his maternal grandmother, Willoughby Wiggins, and in addition to his honorary son, Clifford Lewis Jr.

JR graduated from Port Chester High School in Port Chester, NY in 1965 and soon after joined the US Army. He served his country honorably during the Vietnam Conflict and was awarded several medals of recognition.

JR attended the State University of NY at Purchase graduating with a BA in Psychology. After graduating and residing in New York for many years he decided to relocate to New Mexico to be near family. He was later employed with VoiceStream/T-Mobile and retired with many accolades after 18 years of service. JR greatly enjoyed going to work and the camaraderie of his work family of friends. A heartfelt thank you goes out to JR's "work wives".

JR was an avid sports fan, liked to sing (serenade), and enjoyed dancing.

JR became a baptized member of New Life Baptist Church where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior where he remained a faithful member for 25+ years. Special gratitude is given to the Pastoral Staff, and church members for their prayers and caring support during his illness.

JR was blessed to meet his devoted and cherished wife, Joyce Marie at New Life Baptist Church in the summer of 1998. Their friendship flourished and later their marriage united their children in their bond as a family of love.

JR is survived by his lovely wife, Joyce Marie; his mother, Mary Sanders; his children, George Vermong (Nancy), Prince Sanders (Petar), Omar Armstead Sanders (Jill), Xzya Sanders, David Terrell Foust (Diamond), Will Sanders (Kara), DaBrcee Sanders, and 17 grand-blessings and 5 great-grand-blessings.

Honorary children, Nicole Butler (Joshua), Christopher Lewis, Courtney Lewis (Amanda), and 9 honorary grand-blessings.

He will be missed by his siblings, Betty Warrior, Lillie Allen (Larry), and Gregg Sanders (Robyn).

We send our love and gratitude to our extended family in Sumter, SC, in addition to his many nieces and nephews, and our many friends.

JR's family would like to thank His Forever Friend of more than 65+ years Lorraine Jones, and Demitris Gaines, his chess buddy for their warm and caring friendships. A Special thanks to his Pinochle Partners at Los Volcanos Senior Center for their friendship and entertainment.

The family would also like to thank the dedicated staff of the following organizations; Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Hospital, The Compassus Hospice/Pallative staff; Jeff, Melissa, Ramona, and Leeann, and The Angels Above Home Care staff; Jessica, Joseph, and Diane for their excellent care and sensitive attention to JR. Thank you, to the Staff and Clientele of Sandia Hearing Aid Center (Starkey) for their moral support, understanding and generous flexibility.

A very personal Thank You to our dear friend, Robyn Libassi for the love, guidance and comfort extended to our family.

To all those who graciously gave of their time, made calls, mailed cards and brought meal provisions, the family appreciates all the kindnesses shown to us during this challenging time. Our Blessings were Many!

We will celebrate JR's joyful spirit, infectious laugh, debatable opinionated views, adorable directness, and his loving fierce loyalty at a Homegoing Celebration on Friday, June 23, 2023, with a visitation beginning at 3:00 p.m., followed by a Funeral Service at 4:00 p.m., at FRENCH - University.

Reception will follow the service at New Life Baptist Church, 6330 Riverside Plaza Ln NW, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87120, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Willie (JR) Sanders, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 23, 2023

3:30 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, June 23, 2023

Starts at 4:00 pm (Mountain time)


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