Harlan, Iowa — Gary Elmer Sanders, 81, of Harlan, Iowa, formerly of Spencer, died Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa.

Visitation was held Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill.

Funeral services were held Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 at the mortuary in O'Neill. Pastor Brian Loy officiated.

Burial was in the O'Neill Cemetery in O'Neill.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Gary was born on July 19, 1940 in Spencer to Ervin and Minnie (Rouse) Sanders. He grew up and attended school in O’Neill. 

On July 19, 1958, he married JoAnn Peters in Norfolk. The couple lived in Inman for a short time before moving to O’Neill. Together they had one daughter Tina.

Upon retirement from the City of O’Neill in 1984, Gary and JoAnn moved to the farm near Spencer where they raised exotic animals, mainly birds. They also loved raising emus, bunnies, pheasants, fainting goats, chickens, horses and many more over the years.

Gary and JoAnn enjoyed riding motorcycles in their younger years. The two also shared many hobbies: fishing, taxidermy, hunting, bird sales and showing their coon dogs. 

They loved having family and friends visit the farm, and some can still see them standing by the gate waving as they honk and wave. 

Gary is survived by one daughter Tina (Bruce) Christensen of Harlan, Iowa; four grandchildren Tabitha (Jason) Ludwig of Auburn, Iowa, Tammi (Matt) Thompson of Nebraska City, Ashley (Paul) Bruck of Harlan, Iowa and Alison (Shane) King of Breda, Iowa; 12 great-grandchildren Emily, Evan, Jolie, Braden, Halle, Caden, Kenzley, Kipton, Camden, Carter, Cohen and Keeley; two siblings Janice (John) Harte of Denver, CO and Kenny (Myrna) Sanders of Columbus.

He was preceded in death by his wife JoAnn and four siblings Willis Sanders, Donna June Campbell, Richard Sanders and Bud Sanders.  

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