Paul D. Sanders, MD, 71, of Howards Grove, WI passed away peacefully with his wife at his side, on Friday, September 30, 2022, from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia at Harvest Home in Howards Grove. He was born August 4, 1951, in Columbus, OH to George and Janis (Foster) Sanders. Paul grew up in California, then moved to Las Vegas, NV, graduating from Valley High School with the Class of 1969. He spent his adult years in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Wisconsin. Paul continued his education graduating from Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR with his BS in mathematics with high scholarship in 1973. He then received his Medical Degree in 1977 from the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, and in 1980 Paul began his Family Practice Residency at the University of Colorado & Poudre Valley Memorial Hospital. Paul’s initial family practice clinic was in Hood River, OR.
On February 22, 2002, he was united in marriage to Rae Stager in Girdwood, Alaska.
He was a quiet, almost shy man, but once he got to know you, there was a playful sense of humor that emerged and loyalty as a friend that was second to none. A storyteller, his colleagues enjoyed his many stories from living in Alaska. He was unbelievably dedicated to his family practice patients and staff. Paul worked tirelessly in management roles at many of the clinics he served including Medical Director at Aurora Health Center in Sturgeon Bay, WI, Orcas Medical Center, Eastsound, WA, Providence Seward Medical Center, Seward, AK, and Peninsula Community Health Services, Soldotna, AK. He retired from Aspirus Health Care, Wausau, Wi in 2015.
Paul also held Fellow Status in the American Academy of Family Practice.
Paul was married and divorced twice before marrying Rae. His first wife was Susan Wilcox who has preceded him in death and his second wife was Hallie Garrison. During these marriages, Paul welcomed son Ely, and daughters Lea and Fiona. He embraced his stepson, Ross, upon his marriage to Rae. Paul was enormously proud of his three children, Ely, Lea and Fiona and his stepson, Ross, who all exhibit Paul’s commitment to professionalism, quality, and creative work in their given fields.
The outdoors was clearly a passion of Paul’s. In his earlier days, the Columbia River introduced him to windsurfing, and the Pacific Northwest was a great playground for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and camping. During his time in medical school, he enjoyed woodworking and made a full-size wood strip canoe. Canoeing and kayaking, along with hiking and cross-country skiing became frequent and favorite outings with his wife Rae in both Alaska and Wisconsin. He was also a proficient photographer.
Paul’s actions towards family, friends, and patients were those of respect and a desire to help. He constantly practiced positive values of caring, equality, integrity, and honesty. This was witnessed in everyday life and in the letters and emails he received from grateful patients and colleagues when he announced his retirement due to Parkinson’s disease in 2015.
Paul is survived by his wife of 20 years Rae, three children: Lea Sanders-Wilcox, Fiona (Edward) Stone; and Ely Sanders; stepson Ross (Lori) Gullikson; grandchildren: Lauren, Marcus, Jovani, and Sofia Sanders; Molina Stone; Susan Jones, and step-grandchildren Lily and Samuel Gullikson; sister June (Stan) Chapman; brother, Norman Sanders; sisters-in-law Christine (William) Bernhagen; and brother-in-law Curtis (Sue) Solberg. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Paul was preceded in death by his father George Sanders, mother Janis Sanders Harvey, brother James Sanders and in-laws Hilmar and Arlene Solberg.
An informal Celebration of Paul’s Life will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 2:00 PM at First Congregational Church, 310 Bluff Ave., Sheboygan, with Pastor Julia Hollister presiding. Family and friends are invited to join Rae in sharing their memories of Paul.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to Oregon Health & Science University Foundation (restricted to OSHU Department of Family Practice, In memory of Peter Goodwin, MD, Father of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act); Michael J. Fox Foundation; Doctors Without Borders; and Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.
Special thanks are given to Paul’s neurologist, Dr. Kathryn Gaines, his primary care physician, Dr. Robert Remington, and the staff at Embrace Care Management, Harvest Home, and Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice for the continual expertise, caring and support they gave Paul and Rae.