THE PLAINS — Arlen Emerson Saunders, 91, formerly of Athens and The Plains, passed away April 9, 2023, at Story Pointe Assisted Living, Fairfield, Ohio. Born Sept. 12, 1931, in Gallipolis, he was the son of the late Stanley A. Saunders and Willa Rutt Saunders.
A 1949 graduate of Gallia Academy High School, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1953 and 1962 from Morehead State University. He taught industrial arts at Ripley-Union-Lewis High School from 1953 to 1963, then he was a university professor for 38 years, first at Montclair State Teachers College in New Jersey and later Ohio University.
He was a member of First United Methodist Church, Athens, S.A.R. of Gallipolis, Hocking Valley Sportsman Association, German Gun Collectors Association, NRA, and a life member of the National Muzzle Loading Association. While in Athens, he was an active Mason, being a 65-year member of Paramuthia Lodge 25 F&AM. He served the lodge as Worshipful Master in 1980 and 1997. He was a 65-year member of Athens Chapter 175 OES, serving as Past Worthy Patron. He was a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Seventeenth Masonic District and a Past Deputy Division Commander of the 4th Division (Knight Commander of the Temple). He was a 60-year member of Athens Chapter 39 RAM (Past High Priest), Athens Council 15 R&SM (Past Illustrious Master) and Athens Commandery 15 KT (Past Commander). He was a Knight of the York Cross of Honour. He served as treasurer of the Athens York Rite and was a member of the Athens Masonic Temple Company for many years. He also held memberships in Ohio Priory 18 KYCH, Ohio River Valley AMD (PSM and Past Secretary), Ohio Valley College 196 YRC (Order of the Purple Cross), Lafayette Conclave Red Cross of Constantine, Scottish Rite Valley of Cambridge 32֯, Aladdin Temple Shrine and Athens County Shrine Club.
Arlen is survived by his daughter, Pamela Saunders Rodgers and her husband, Rudy Rodgers, of The Plains; two sons, Stephen A. Saunders and his wife Carlita Wickline Saunders of Prospect, Kentucky, and Andrew J. Saunders and his wife, Susan Culp Saunders, of Liberty Twp., Ohio; five grandchildren, Julie (Eric) Wood, Stephanie (Steven) Kaebnick, Christopher (his fiancé, Jessica, and her son, Jameer Cosby) Saunders, Charles Saunders and Stephen Saunders; and six great-grandchildren, Vivian, Gus and Eliza Kaebnick, Parker Saunders, and Kaitlyn & Timothy Wood.
Beside his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Anna M. Saunders, who died June 15, 2022; and a son, Stanley W. Saunders, who died Aug. 28, 2018.
Funeral service will be conducted at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 13, at Jagers & Sons Funeral Home, Athens. Burial will be in Mound Hill Cemetery, Gallipolis. Friends may call from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Paramuthia Lodge will hold Masonic Rites at 2 p.m. Please share a memory, a note of condolence or sign the online register at www.jagersfuneralhome.com.