DOERUN, GA - James Rayburn (Ray) Saunders, age 82, died Thursday, September 17, 2020, at his home surrounded by family after a brief battle with cancer. Funeral service was held at 3:00 PM, Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Doerun First Baptist Church, with Dr. David Benton officiating. A private family interment will follow in Doerun Cemetery. Social distancing guidelines will be followed, and masks are recommended.
His six grandchildren will serve as his casketbearers.
Born September 16, 1938, in Colquitt County, he was the son of the late George Frank Saunders and the late Ruby Lee Pierce Saunders. He attended Doerun School, graduating from Doerun High School in 1956. While in high school, he played basketball and baseball.
After high school, Mr. Saunders began farming with his brother, Sonny, and Saunders Brothers Farms was established. Over the years he grew tobacco, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, and corn. He was also associated with the tobacco warehouse business. On October 12, 1958, he married Dorothy Marie Gay of Doerun. They have two children: Judy Saunders Mobley and husband Mark; Jim Saunders and wife Lisa. He later became grandfather to John Mark Mobley and wife Rebecca, Matthew Mobley and wife Genna, Tyler Mobley and wife Lindsay, Daniel Mobley, Jay Saunders, and Anna Marie Saunders. He was great-grandfather to Elle, Jack, James, Kate, Ruby, and Mary Tyler Mobley. He is also survived by a sister, Betty Saunders Weeks and husband Charles, and several brothers and sisters-in law, nieces, and nephews; special friends, Lamar Marshall and Freddie Simons. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his in-laws, Earlie and Dell Gay, his brother George (Sonny) Saunders, and his great-granddaughter, Olivia Mobley. He lived each day to the fullest. His greatest joy was in helping others. His best gift was that he knew how to love people. His love of people led him to civic affairs and politics. He held many offices including past director of the Farm Bureau; past chairman of the Farmers Home Administration; chairman of the State ASCS Committee; Charter Member and President of the Doerun Young Farmers; Soil and Water Conservationist Winner; Past Master of Doerun Masonic Lodge; Past President of Sunset Country Club; Board member for Colquitt County Development Authority; Board member for the Colquitt Zoning Committee; Board of Directors of Pineland School and chairman of the Athletic Department; Vice Chairman of the Colquitt County Republican Party; Chairman of the Second District Agriculture for George Bush Committee; Member of First Baptist Church of Doerun where he served as chairman of the deacons, chairman of the building committee, Sunday School Superintendent, and teacher.
In 1998, he ran for Colquitt County Commissioner of District 5. He had a deep love for the people of Colquitt County, especially those in the Doerun community. He considered it a privilege to serve the citizens for sixteen years. Some of his best efforts were related to road construction and youth sports at the Recreation Department.
He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was their greatest fan always encouraging them to do their best. He also loved to give support to his grandchildren's friends. He was affectionately known by all as "Papa Ray".
He loved God, loved his family, loved his friends, loved his community, and loved life. He will be greatly missed by all.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Doerun, P. O. Box 156, Doerun, Georgia, 31744.
Cobb Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with the arrangements. Please sign the online guestbook at www.cobbfuneralchapel.com.