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American Patriotic 10


Harris Donald "Don" Saunders

August 15, 1934 ~ May 14, 2018 (age 83)

Harris Donald Saunders


Sylacauga, AL - Harris Donald “Don” Saunders, 83, of Sylacauga, AL passed away on May 14, 2018 at Select Specialty Hospital in Birmingham, AL.  He was born August 15, 1934 in Wynne, AR. 

Don graduated from Sylacauga High School in 1952 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  After his naval service, he completed his undergraduate degree at Jacksonville State College and began a civilian career with the U.S. Government as a Cartographer with the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, St. Louis.  He transferred to the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Suitland, MD, in 1963 where he was a Physical Oceanographer specializing in sound propagation in the field of underwater acoustics.  During this time he attended Penn State University for graduate work in acoustical engineering and later became the Head of the Environmental Section of the Naval Intelligence Support Center, Washington, D.C.  Don was elected as a Fellow Member of The Explorers Club in 1972.  He began a corporate career with IBM’s Federal Systems Division in 1974 where he worked as a Marketing Manager for advanced space and defense technology systems and retired after 20 years of service.  He also retired after 5 years of service with its successor, Lockheed Martin Federal Systems.    

Don moved back to Sylacauga, AL in 1999 to enjoy his retirement in a place where he had so many wonderful friends from his high school days.  He will be missed.  His family cherishes his gift of strength, love, and guidance he always provided.

He is survived by his daughter Janice and her husband Tommy Grohs and two grandchildren, Eric and Shelly Grohs of Sylacauga, AL; his son Stephen “Buster” Saunders, also of Sylacauga.  Stephen and Janice are the children of Don and former wife Trudy Perry of Garrisonville, VA who were endeared to each other as friends throughout his life.

He is also survived by sisters Betty Holland of Wilmington, NC and Marcy Timm of Eagle, ID and husband Jerry; nephews Rob Holland and wife Anna of Cary, NC  and Mark Holland and wife Cathy of Wilmington, NC.  He also leaves great-nephews Jason and Wesley Holland and great-niece Elizabeth Holland. He was preceded in death by his parents, Herb and Nadine Saunders, and a son Samuel Scott Saunders.


Visitation for Harris Donald Saunders will be Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Radney-Smith Funeral Home. A memorial service will immediately follow in the Radney-Smith Chapel with Bro. David Vick officiating. 


Inurnment will be in the National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama, Friday, May 18, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.


Memorial messages may be sent to the family at


Radney-Smith Funeral Home in Sylacauga, AL will direct the services.

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