Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Raymond Joseph Sanders

February 1, 1933 - April 5, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, April 12, 2024
10:30 AM EDT
Holy Family Chapel
2929 Nazareth Road
Nazareth, MI 49048

Visitation and a time of sharing will be held 30 minutes prior to Mass.


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Alzheimer's Association - Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
200 Turwill Ln Suite 6
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 342-1482
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Loving, compassionate, and kind, Raymond Sanders lived a life rich in faith and family. Ray possessed a quirky sense of humor and naturally created a sense of calm in every environment. Funny and extroverted, Ray loved people and always amplified the energy of those who shared his good company. Whether at work, home, or on the golf course, Ray inspired ease, comfort, and good times. A devoted husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, and friend, Ray will long be remembered and so very missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the Sanders home as they welcomed their son Raymond on February 1, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois.

Growing up on the North Side of Chicago, Ray was later joined by his sister Gerri. After high school, Ray enrolled in Wright Jr. College before attending the University of Chicago. While a student at the University of Chicago, he was drafted into the military. Ray served his country with pride and enjoyed his time in Alaska.

Following his service, Ray completed his education with a law degree from Loyola University in Chicago. In time, he married Elaine and welcomed three wonderful children into his life. Though the union ended in divorce after 25 years, Ray was always grateful for the gift of his children.

Ray enjoyed his career as an attorney for an insurance company and real estate, but his true passion was immigration law. This work aligned with his Catholic beliefs in treating everyone as a human, no matter where they were from. He practiced law from his heart with unwavering passion and sincere compassion and enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives.

While participating in a Pheonix Group meeting, a support group for divorced Catholics, Ray had the good fortune of meeting Barbara Murphy. The pair shared much in common, including their values, church participation, and love of music. Ray was an extrovert, and Barbra was an introvert, which provided a healthy balance between the two. Their first date was at the Taste of Polonia Festival in Chicago, where they danced the entire night, and Barbara ended up having blisters on her feet when all was said and done.

Even divided baseball loyalties, he was from the north side of Chicago and a Cubs fan, while she was from the south side and loyal to the White Sox, this, could not keep them apart. On June 28, 1986, the happy couple married at City Hall. Their friend, Joe Folzenlogen SJ, gave a marriage blessing and officiated a mass at their home. Ray often joked that he married her because she could play the piano, and he wanted live music every night. Barbara came to the marriage with five children. Some of her kids were still at home, whom Ray loved dearly. The richness of faith and family grew for them both.

A Depression-era child, Ray was frugal. He fixed things instead of replacing them; everything got a second chance. Ray’s faith was the cornerstone of his life, and he was active in church. He particularly enjoyed singing in the choir as a tenor and supported Barbara in all of her church ministries.

Ray and Barbara moved from Park Ridge, Illinois, to Portage, Michigan, as his health declined, to be near family. Eventually, as his needs required specialized care, Ray was lovingly moved to Hawthorn Landing in the memory care unit. Barbara visited him regularly, and on Friday, April 5, 2024, she, read psalms, and sang to him one last time. Later in the evening, he went home to be with his Lord and Savior.

A steadfast source of love and support, Ray inspired all who were blessed to know him. As we celebrate his wonderful life, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy forward. In each moment we greet a stranger as a friend, choose to see the best in humanity, give of our time and talents in service of others, share our enthusiasm for life by joyfully lifting our voices in song or dancing with a beloved, we keep Ray’s memory alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.

Members of Ray’s family include his wife, Barbara; 3 children, Raymond Mark Sanders (Pamela), Gregory (Patti), Linda (David) Dalemar; 5 stepchildren, Colleen and Ted Mora, Sean (Amy) Murphy, Brendan (Linda) Murphy, Kael (Kristin Negaard) Murphy, and Siobhan (Henry) Crawford; twenty grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, one great, great grandchild, with one more on the way. Ray was preceded in death by his sister, Gerri Carl.

Cremation has taken place. Mass will be held at 10:30 am on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Holy Family Chapel, 2929 Nazareth Road, Kalamazoo. A time of sharing will take place at 10 am. A Mass in the Chicago area will be announced. Visit Ray’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.