Robert Eugene (Bob) Sanders, 83, passed peacefully away in the late afternoon of Jan. 20, at Pondera Medical Center Extended Care Unit.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held Feb. 8, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Conrad followed by a luncheon in the church basement. Please come and share your memories of Bob with us. Interment with military and Masonic honors will be held at a later date.
Arrangements are being handled by Pondera Funeral Home and condolences may be left for the family at www.misermortuaries.com .
Bob and his twin brother Don were born in the spring of 1930 in Conrad to Gordon R. Sanders and Wilma M. (Hoover) Sanders. At an early age, Bob knew he wanted to farm. At age four or five, he’d stand at the edge of a field near the house watching his dad make rounds on the tractor, hoping he would be noticed and picked up for a ride. Farming was his passion and he was an exceptional farmer.
Bob attended elementary school at the Manson School and high school in Conrad where he graduated in 1949. He helped his Dad on the farm for a year then enlisted in the Navy. After being honorably discharged, Bob attended Northern Montana College in Havre where he earned an Associate Degree in Agriculture and met his future wife, Lila.
Bob and Lila Moen were married Oct. 6, 1957 in Glasgow, and Bob began his farming and ranching career on the family farm northwest of Conrad. Bob and Lila had three children—Shannon, Shelley and Robert Scott. Lila was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1974 and passed away in April of 1981. Bob then married Cindy Habets, and they had many happy years together, including Bob adopting and welcoming his fourth child, Tadd, into the family. Bob and Cindy later divorced, but remained friends throughout the rest of his life. Bob and Charolette Hicks were married for a short time. Eight years ago, Bob met and fell in love with Carra Higgins of Babb. They enjoyed many happy times and adventures. In 2009, Bob suffered a stroke in his sleep. With Carra’s RN training and her loving care and devotion, Bob was able to spend most of his last four years at home. The past few months Bob was cared for by the wonderful staff at Pondera Medical Center Extended Care Unit.
Among Bob’s many interests were hunting, guns and fishing. He owned and operated Bob’s Custom Reloading and General Gunsmithing for many years. Bob was a lifelong member of the NRA and taught hunter safety classes for 10 years. He enjoyed bird and big game hunting, fishing and tying flies. In 2007, he and friends went on the fishing trip of a lifetime to the Amazon, where he fished for and caught (there are pictures to prove it) beautiful peacock bass.
Bob was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Conrad and also enjoyed attending Babb United Methodist Church with Carra. Bob was a Mason and a Worden in Pondera Lodge #80 in Conrad where he was a member for the past 36 years.
Bob was preceded in death by his first wife Lila, his parents Gordon and Wilma Sanders, and his close friend, fellow farmer and cousin Ken Sanders.
Bob is survived by his loving and devoted companion of the past eight years, Carra Higgins; his twin brother and wife, Don and Mary Sanders of Homer, Alaska; nephew and wife David and Hester Sanders; great-nieces Faith and Brooklyn, and great-nephew Matthew. Bob is also survived by his daughter and son-in-law Shannon and Rex Holdsambeck, granddaughter Erika Kuepfer, all of Missoula, and grandson Ryan Vidal of Bend, Ore.; his daughter and son-in-law Shelley and Bart Freese, and granddaughters Cecelia and Lila Freese of Miles City; his son Robert S. Sanders, and grandson Tyler Sanders of Conrad; and his son Tadd Sanders, granddaughters Emberly and Ella Sanders, and grandson Elijah Sanders of Joplin and Chester. In addition, Bob is survived by Carra’s daughter Beth Higgins and Beth’s daughter Emma Giron of Missoula; daughter Susan Higgins and husband John Cunningham of Missoula; and son Mike Higgins of Babb. Bob is also survived by his second wife Cindy Sanders of Chester. Last, but definitely not least, Bob is survived by his beautiful, sweet Brittany Spaniel, Pippy Ann Longstockings.
It is Bob’s wish to be remembered as a great farmer, a good friend and neighbor, and as a wonderful, loving father and husband. He will be so missed, but we are uplifted by the knowledge that he is now free of the confines of a body that did not allow him to do any of the things he so loved to do in this world.
Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Conrad or the Babb United Methodist Church.