Eaph Anderson Sanders loved the Lord, his family and the Marine Corps. He enjoyed reading his Bible, gardening, fishing, hunting, building and fixing anything! He loved people, his beloved sister Pearlie, and winning souls for Christ. His wife Phyllis Marie Sanders was the love of his life and they were married for nearly 62 years. Over the past few months everything he did was to ensure his beloved wife was secure, safe, cared for and loved. He was a perfect example of a Godly husband, family patriarch, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, family member, brother in Christ, and friend. He was deeply loved and will be dearly missed! Eaph taught us that our hope and faith remain in the Lord.
Eaph Anderson Sanders was born on March 13, 1939 at the home of his parents Mack Willie Sanders, Sr. and Callie Mae Anderson Sanders in Beggs, Oklahoma.
Eaph was born into a loving family which eventually grew to five brothers and one sister. Their beloved mother passed away at an early age and as a young teenager Eaph moved to live with his grandfather Eaph Arthur Anderson in Stockton, California. His sister Pearlie Mae Dudley was married to Tommy Lee Dudley and living in Stockton. Eaph and Pearlie’s relationship was close with daily calls up to the night before he entered into the presence of the Lord.
He met the love of his life Phyllis Marie McGill at Edison High School in Stockton, California. Eaph enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1956 at the age of 17. He had a vision of having a career that would allow him to support his future wife and family.
Eaph and Phyllis were celebrities in their local community, since at age of 19 and 18 years old they had to receive permission to marry. Eaph’s father lived in Wichita, Kansas and without fax machines and the internet they had to depend on the police department in Wichita to obtain the signed documentation from Eaph’s Dad, so Eaph and Phyllis could marry. In a world without social media their story was printed in the local newspaper in Stockton, California. Eaph and Phyllis were married on June 7, 1958 at the home of Phyllis’s parents Truman and Myrtle McGill with 150 guests.
Shortly after their wedding Eaph and Phyllis moved to Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, California in Northern San Diego County. There they established their first home. They celebrated the birth of their first child Cheryl Marie Sanders on September 5, 1959. Eaph and Phyllis welcomed with joy the birth of their second daughter Lennise Ann Sanders on November 22, 1961. Their only son Eaph Craig Sanders was welcomed by the entire family on October 17, 1969. The girls were so excited to have a brother!
Eaph enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 28, 1956. He was an active duty Marine for 22 years. During his time in the Corps he served three tours in Vietnam. Master Sergeant (MSgt) Sanders aka ”Gunny” had a distinguished military career and received many awards and accolades from the Marine Corps, including Meritorious Mast, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Frame, Good Conduct Medal, and Rifle and Pistol expert badges. Eaph retired honorably on March 29, 1978 and joined the Marine Corps Lifers an elite group of those who served for 20 years or more. Eaph loved being a Marine and he influenced and encouraged others to join or reenlist in the Marine Corps.
Eaph was an avid learner! He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (USMC), before graduating from High School. While stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, Eaph received his high school diploma from Matthew C. Perry High School on September 6, 1972. He later attended Mira Costa and Palomar Community Colleges studying auto mechanics and plumbing. While serving in the USMC he successfully completed Supervisors School and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Leadership training. During his time as a federal civil service employee he successfully completed Affirmative Action and Cultural Diversity training.
After retiring from the Marine Corps Eaph served as a federal civil servant for 17 years. He worked for the United States Department of Interior with the US National Parks and Forest Service. He served at the Umatilla National Forest, Indiana National Dunes Seashore, Mount Rainer National Park, Gifford Pinchot National Forest-Mount St. Helens, and Yosemite National Park.
Eaph loved the Lord and his desire was for everyone in his family to know the love, grace, and mercy he experienced from the God of love. He surrendered his life to the Lord in the late 70’s and answered the call as a follower of Christ to serve others. Eaph received training to support those who were victims of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse within the church and the community. He also provided individual and group counseling to those experiencing homelessness and drug addiction. He was also a Royal Ranger leader working with youth in the church. Eaph and Phyllis established a Gospel Choir while they were stationed in Iwakuni, Japan. The choir traveled around Japan praising the Lord. Over the years he and his wife supported Portland Metro Campus of Adult & Teen Challenge.
Eaph served as a Deacon, Elder, and Board Member at Carlsbad Gospel Tabernacle Assembly God Church in Carlsbad, California; Turning Point Christian Center in Vancouver, Washington; and, New Life Christian Center in La Grande, Oregon. Eaph and Phyllis received a Certificate of Ministry from the Assemblies of God, Berean College on January 23, 1991. Eaph and Phyllis are the founders of Jesus Road Warrior Ministry to advance their mission they traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico in their RV ministering to individuals and encouraging pastors. They always found a good local church to connect those they ministered to before they left the area. Eaph also traveled to southern India with a mission’s team from Life Change Church located in Portland, Oregon. While in India he shared his testimony, and many were set free and healed. Eaph and Phyllis were always welcoming loved ones, family, friends, church groups, co-workers and strangers into their home for bible studies, lavish meals, and fellowship. Oh, how their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren loved holiday celebrations in their home! A few of our cousins and friends were able to enjoy times with us too.
Eaph was preceded in death by his mother Callie Mae Sanders, his brother Mack Willie Sanders, Jr., his grandfather Eaph Arthur Anderson, his father Mack Willie Sanders, Sr., his brother Reverend Amos Andrew Sanders and his half-brother Robert Sanders.
Eaph is survived by his loving wife Phyllis Marie Sanders, his children Cheryl Marie Sanders Miller (Andrew), Lennise Ann Sanders and Eaph Craig Sanders; grandchildren Holly Marie Weems-Ladd (Daimion), Joy Marie Patterson, and Timothy Walter Patterson, Jr.; great-grandchildren, Erykah Marie Weems, Angelo Xavier Acab, Jr., Joshua Maurice-Weems McDonald, Anthony Scott Brannon, Jade Kahamaya McDonald, Seven Timothy Patterson, and Janiyah Marie Brannon. He is also survived by his siblings Joseph Lee Sanders (Freddie), Pearlie Mae Dudley, Lawrence Larry Allen Lee Sanders (Nettie), Earl Eugene Sanders (Kathy), and his sisters-in-love Verlena Sanders Dorn, Annie Sanders, Deloris McGill and Sherry Winfrey (Milton), and Janet McGill who preceded him in death. A host of nephews and nieces, family members, friends and Marine Corps and Civil Service friends.
Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. Oorah!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
“We live with a joyful confidence, yet at the same time we take delight in the thought of leaving our bodies behind to be at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 The Passion Translation (TPT)
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Portland Metro Campus of Adult & Teen Challenge