Rev. Robert J. Saunders

Telegraph Herald
July 7, 2007

MANCHESTER, Iowa - The Rev. Robert Joseph Saunders, 92, of Manchester, died Wednesday, July 4, 2007, at Good Neighbor Home, Manchester. By his side in life, as well as death, were his housekeeper of 53 years, family members and close friends.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Manchester. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Dubuque. Friends may call from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, where family and friends will gather for prayer and reflection, and where there will be a scripture service at 5:30 p.m. Friends also may call after 9:30 a.m. Monday at the church.

He was born on March 18, 1915, in Dubuque, son of Gordon Arthur and Marguerite Gertrude (Schrempf) Saunders, the third of seven children.

Having received his bachelor of arts degree from Loras College, Dubuque, in 1937, he received his training for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary-Roland Park, Baltimore.

His childhood parish, St. Raphael's Cathedral in Dubuque, was the site of his ordination on June 7, 1941, by Archbishop Francis J. Beckman, followed by his First Solemn Mass.

He was assigned to assist at several parishes in the Archdiocese of Dubuque: Manly (1941); Farley (1942); Loras Academy in Dubuque (1943); Alta Vista (1947); Mason City (1947); and New Hampton (1948).

He served as pastor of St. Michael's Parish, Garber, and Sacred Heart Parish, Littleport, (1949-1954); St. Peter's Parish, Temple Hill, (1954 to 1969); and St. Michael's Parish, Norway, (1969-1986).

After retirement in 1986, he lived in Manchester, where he enjoyed visits from family and friends.

Surviving are his brother, Wilson J. Saunders, of Waterloo; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-great-nieces and nephews; and Anna Recker, friend and housekeeper.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Michael Saunders, of East Dubuque, Ill. (1967), John Saunders, of Portage, Wis. (1984), Marguerite Schemmel, of Streator, Ill. (1989), Betty Saunders, of Dubuque (1997), and Gordon Saunders, of Baltimore (2000).

Memorials may be made in Father's name to Loras Fund, Loras College, Dubuque, and St. Mary's Catholic Church, Manchester.

Online condolences may be left for the family at


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