Dr. James Henry Sanders, Jr., age 95, of Brevard, N.C., passed away on June 9, 2023. He was a retired physician, devoted husband and father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.
Jim was born on December 30th, 1927 to Dr. James H. Sanders and Claudia Thomas Sanders in Gaffney, S.C. He graduated from The Citadel in 1947 and went on to The Medical College of the State of S.C., graduating in 1951. He married his high school sweetheart, Gloria Allison in 1951 and they moved to Brevard, NC in 1952 to begin their professional and family life. He founded Brevard Family Practice where he worked tirelessly to care for his patients. This was briefly interrupted by his being called into service at Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, GA for two years before returning to his mountain home where he resumed private practice.
Dr. Sanders was board certified in Family, Addiction, and Geriatric Medicine; although he would say if asked that he was a mountain bush doctor. He served as Medical Director of Bridgeway, an addiction recovery center that he established. He was a Medical Director at Brian Center Nursing Home, key member of the Medical Staff of the Transylvania County Community Hospital, Board member of the Transylvania Medical Society, active in the North Carolina Medical Society, and Lifetime member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He was a member and Past President of the Brevard Rotary Club. He contributed articles to several medical journals regarding Medical Ethics, Addiction Medicine and Geriatrics. Dr. Sanders was a skilled, kind, and compassionate physician who touched the lives of countless individuals throughout his career. He will be remembered for his exceptional medical expertise, dedication to his patients, his warm sense of humor and caring personality. He worked continually to improve patient care; he even took extended trips to Sweden to study their form of Socialized Medicine in hopes of finding a way to make equal access to medical care for everyone.
After retirement, Jim became an active member of UUTC and their Men’s Group and continued his lifelong quest to improve the lives of others. His day-to-day connections at local restaurants, College Walk and his church were a treat for all, and will be dearly missed.
He was a one-in-a-million husband, father, grandfather, colleague and friend; a mentor and North Star to many. Jim and Gloria’s love and respect for each other in their marriage is the foundation upon which he built his extraordinary life. He was an avid outdoorsman, spending much of his free time hiking in the mountains around Brevard and eventually blazing a beautiful trail around their beloved mountain getaway, Critter Hill. His affinity for outdoor adventures, no matter the weather or cold water involved, carries on with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was idolized by his children and grandchildren as an example of all that is good. Jim was a knowledgeable and valuable contributor over the years in the space of social justice, inclusion, politics and healthcare. His thoughtful, measured approach was well known and sought after from all who knew him. He had an effortless and genuine sense of humor that kept Gloria and the rest of the family on their toes. Laughter at family gatherings could usually be traced back to him.
Jim experienced several lifetimes worth of accomplishments, successes and losses including the loss of his two sons and grandson. Through it all, he maintained his commitment to his family, friends and community. He had faith in doing the right thing and faith in others. His light never dimmed and will be carried on for generations to come.
Dr. Sanders was preceded in death by sons Jamie and John Sanders, sister Ann Campbell, and grandson, Allen Ramsey. He leaves behind his wife of 72 years, Gloria; daughter Allison Sanders Ramsey (Barton), daughter in law Cinthia Aspinwall Sanders; his grandchildren: Hillary Dabney (Brian), James Ramsey (Rebecca), Elizabeth “Fizzy” Ramsey (Kristen), Ryan Sanders, Dale Williams (Travis), Hannah Sanders and Adam Sanders; and his great-grandchildren: Bart, Claudia, Millie, Kurt, Preston, Madelyn, Layla and Sage.
A Celebration of Life will be held on June 17th, at 1:00 pm at the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County, 24 Varsity Street, Brevard, N.C. A reception will follow in the activity room at College Walk.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Unitarian Universalists of Transylvania County or Four Seasons Hospice.