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Old 06-15-2009, 04:59 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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William Henry Sanders II, 92, Princeton, WV

On June 3, 2009, William Henry Sanders II joined his ancestors in the sky.

William was born on February 24, 1917, in Princeton, the son of Ina Hylton Sanders and Hartley Poe Sanders. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Sarah Sanders and Caroline Sterrett.

He received his undergraduate degree from Randolph-Macon Men's College and his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1942. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served as line officer in the First Battalion, Second Marine Division, decorated by Admiral Nimitz twice, the Purple Heart at Pearl Harbor Hospital and the Navy Cross, the highest medal given by the United States Navy. He later received the Bronze Star as A Company commander and was the only commissioned officer still standing after an attack on Saipan Island. He served 32 months in the Pacific Theatre in the battles of Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa. He was discharged with the rank of major in 1946.

After the war, he returned to the University of Virginia Law School where, at his request, the university started an international law program with William being the first lawyer to graduate with a Master's of International Law. While at the university, he met and married the love of his life, Katherine Little Sanders. This month, they have been married for 63 years.

As part of his master's program, he served two years as an assistant staff secretary to the staff of U.S. Military Governor General Lucius Clay in Berlin, Germany, until 1948. He then returned to Princeton where he joined his father's law practice. During his years of practice, he championed human rights, fought for the injured and became the advocate for people who needed a champion of their cause. He served as president of the Mercer County Human Rights Council, worked tirelessly for the Shawnee Parkways, and taught a men's Bible class at the First Methodist Church.

William is survived by his wife, Katherine; and their four children, David Hartley Sanders, a judge in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Mary Hylton Sanders and William Henry Sanders III, both lawyers, and Katherine Todd Koerner. They have eight grandchildren, Emily, Katherine, James, Sarah, William, Adam, Rebecca, and Mattie Todd; and one great-grandchild, Mary.

After retiring from the active practice of law, William dedicated his life to collecting the history of the town of Princeton, writing his first book about the town. He researched the first settlers of the Bluestone, the Clay and Lilly families, and several other books, to preserve the history of the people of this region for future generations. He wrote and published 13 books. He had a profound love for Mercer County, its founders and their descendants.

A service to celebrate the life of Mr. William Henry Sanders II will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, Mercer Street, Princeton, with Father William Armstrong and Paul Kane serving as the celebrants. Burial will follow in Resthaven Memorial Park, Princeton, with military graveside service conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mr. Sanders' body will be taken to his home on Sandrine Pointe Drive, Princeton, where friends may visit with the family from 3 until 6 p.m. Friday.

Family and friends may share messages of love and condolence via

In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to the Mercer County Historical Society.

The Sanders Family is being served by the Memorial Funeral Directory & Cremation Center, Athens Road, Princeton.

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