Leslie Sanders was born on the first full day of spring of 1930 on the family farm near Murfreesboro, TN. He was the youngest of four children, two brothers, and a sister, all now deceased. He worked on the farm., had a paper route, and graduated from Central High School in 1949. Soon after graduation, he joined the army, knowing that the GI bill was his route to a college education.
Two years in Colorado gave him a love of the west and a spirit of adventure that he never lost. Returning to Murfreesboro, he earned a BS degree from MTSU, then taught math and physics at Central High School until he was recruited to teach electronics at Keesler Air Force Base near Pensacola. The beaches and a little shrimp boat made it hard to leave this area, but the Ballistic Missile School on Redstone Arsenal offered a sizeable promotion and he was able to make Huntsville his home for the rest of his life. He retired in 1998 as the Branch Chief of the Land Combat Division of MMCS.
In 1971, he and Joanne Cunningham were married. They began planning the house that they would build on a Monte Sano lot overlooking the city. He designed the house and did most of the work himself. He loved the Monte Sano community, walking the trails in the park, and chatting with his neighbors on his daily walk.
He and Joanne were avid boaters, RVers, and adventure travelers, making and keeping friendships far and near. Some of their most memorable boating travels have been cruising the ICW from Maine to Florida, spending several winters in the Bahamas, rafting the Salmon River in Idaho, and cruising the inside passage from Alaska to Washington State. By land, they drove the entire ALCAN Highway to Alaska, visited most of the National Parks, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. Other travel highlights have been going to Machu Pichu in Peru and cruising the Nile in Egypt.
Les was an artistic woodworker, a curious and independent thinker, a lover of nature and of life. He will be greatly missed.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Joanne; his daughter, Leslie McDade; a granddaughter, Caralie McDade; and several beloved nieces and nephews.
His life will be celebrated on his birthday March 21, 2023, at the Monte Sano Lodge from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Memorial gifts to Burritt Museum, the Monte Sano State Park Association, 5101 Nolen Ave., Huntsville, AL 35801, or your favorite charity would be greatly appreciated.