Farming Rural 20
Official Obituary of

Thomas Lee Sanderson

October 9, 1934 ~ March 9, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Thomas Sanderson Obituary

Thomas “Lee” Sanderson

Oct 9, 1934 – March 19, 2024

Aged 89 years & 5 months

Lee was born in Havre, Montana to Bill and Nellie Sanderson and was the fifth of seven children.

He grew up in the Little West District north of Senate, SK with siblings Jean, Joyce, Jack, George (Buck), Gail and Delta. He attended Rangeville, Bellfield & Little West Schools, getting there mostly by horse and cart.

As most boys his age at this time, he enjoyed the simple things. School dances & concerts, berry picking, trips to Fort Walsh and Shepherd’s picnics were highlights, and always his love of the farm. As he grew older, he recalled shenanigans with Skimp and Bill Parsonage, trips to the bush with the Buick for firewood and the good crop of ‘42. Another favourite was climbing into the back of the half ton with the neighbours to go to Robsart to the Saturday Night Show.

At one point in Lee’s life, he was “adopted” by Webb and Delta West, the nearest neighbours. At the time they were childless and perhaps thought the Sandersons could spare one of their children. He enjoyed all the love and affection they gave and was like a big brother to Glen, when his arrival finally blessed the Wests. The families have remained close until this day.

After grade 10, Lee went off to Maple Creek, boarding for grade 11. For the next 2 years, he attended the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Agriculture, pursuing his dream of becoming a farmer. It was around this time he met Ruby Peters who came to Little West School to be a study supervisor. He in his own words “fell for her in a big way” and the romance was on, he, in Saskatoon, and she, in Moose Jaw Nursing School. They were married in 1958.

Lee worked at many jobs throughout his life as well as farming. He worked on the Spangler Project for Sask Agriculture as well as Gas Ice Corp south of Consul. He also worked on the construction of the Hatton Compressor Station. In 1961, Lee and Ruby moved back to the farm with two boys in tow, Dean who was born in 1959, and Scott in 1960. Lee and his brother Buck built a house for the family with the help of neighbors in an extremely hot, dry summer. For years, Lee and Ruby lived with few partitions; an oil heater and running water meant Lee running it in and out by the bucket.

Until then, the farm had always been a grain farm, then in 1962, Lee and Ruby ventured into the cattle business, and acquired the neighbouring Carl Young Farm. Soon after in 1963, their daughter Nola made an appearance, and their family was complete. In 1968, they purchased the AA Turner Farm and needed the help of hired men. When help became hard to find, Ruby learned to drive the tractor, and loaded Nola into the grain truck and became the hired man. As soon as the boys were able, they became farm hands working in the family business.

The years passed, the kids grew up, the house and yard were finished, lots of hard work was done but there was always time for play. Lee’s passion was hockey. He played with his friends, refereed, coached, and watched his boys, following them around the country. He was interested in the kids’ after school activities, but hockey was king! Summers and fall when the work was done, there was time for family, camping, and golf. The family bought a boat and waterskiing became the summer fun. If it was a calm Sunday, the work would stop, a picnic packed and off to Cypress Lake for waterskiing. The lake life took us many places: Flat Head Lake, MT, and Lake Diefenbaker, for family get togethers with the Grices and Peters. As the kids grew up and were able to manage the farm on their own for awhile, Ruby and Lee became snowbirds. They enjoyed winter holidays in the motorhome with sister Jean, and Ted Swihart. Their favourite destination was the warmer southern states. They went for many years, and enjoyed every mile.

The farm grew again when Dean, after graduating the School of Agriculture at the U of S, with the help of Lee and Ruby, bought the Glen Frame place and some irrigation land north of Consul. Playing no favorites, Lee and Ruby were there to lend a hand after Scott graduated from Agriculture at the U of S, when he rented land at Consul and bought the original Pete Reesor Farm. Not leaving anyone out, they were there to support Nola when she purchased Kelli Dee Floral in Maple Creek. Seeing to the success and happiness of their family was always a priority.

Lee was a community-minded person, always there to lend a hand. His shop and its extensive inventory were open to all. His mechanical prowess was shared with many. He served on the Altawan Grazing Co-op Board, Minor Hockey and Rink Boards, and helped with rink, hall, and cemetery projects. Together, Lee and Ruby established the Friends of Cypress Lake Committee to improve the lake campsite and boat dock. He was always there to share his time and talents.

Life took a dark turn in 1996 with Dean’s passing after a long illness. Lee helped Karen with her farm operation while taking care of his own, in a time when he should have been considering retirement. It seemed like the wind had been taken out of his sails; the fun had been taken out of farming. He always had the goal of turning 65 and retiring. It took a few extra years, but they eventually sold the farm to Eve Erickson and left their life-long home in 2002.

Lee and Ruby bought an acreage west of Maple Creek and the next few years were spent improving it. Living the winter in the “Love Shack” while the house was being built brought back memories of the house they built as newlyweds. A shop was moved in and buildings were covered in steel. And as always, there were a few cows around and haying to be done. This new home was the perfect place to enjoy the twilight years, plan trips to the south and follow the grandkids’ hockey.

In 2015, it was time to step back again. They sold the acreage and moved an RTM into Maple Creek. They lived close to the rink across from the park and had a view of their beloved Cypress Hills. Lee and Ruby worked hard on the yard and won a Communities in Bloom Yard of the Week Award. Improving the places they lived was a life-long passion.

Unfortunately, Lee broke his hip in 2019 which led to his move to Long Term Care where he was well cared for until his passing.

Throughout his life, Lee provided a strong, gentle influence on all he met. His interest in people made him friends and lasting relationships all through the country. His love of the land and work ethic is present in his children and grandchildren. He was truly a “gentle man”.

Lee is survived by Ruby, his wife of 65 years; his daughter-in-law Karen; Karen and Dean’s children, Dayna and Tim Craddock, Tayler and Mandie Sanderson and grandchildren Crosby, Nash, Sawyer, and Arianna; son Scott and Barb Sanderson; grandchildren Lane and Danielle Sanderson, Blake and Shenai Sanderson, and great-grandchildren Scout and Ruth; daughter Nola Sanderson and Trevor Taplin; grandchildren Mason Foraie, Dylan Foraie, and Alex Mason.

Also surviving are two sisters, Gail Korol of Regina and Delta Rempel of Red Deer, as well as many nieces and nephews who enjoyed many summers at the farm with Uncle Lee and Aunt Ruby.

A funeral service will be held at the Consul Hall at 2:00 pm on March 13, 2024.

Donations can be made in Lee’s name to:

The Friends of Cypress Lake Recreation Site Inc.

PO Box 202 Consul, SK  S0N 0P0

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Funeral Service
March 13, 2024

2:00 PM
Consul Community Hall
Consul, SK S0N 0P0

Video is available for this event


The Friends of Cypress Lake Recreation Site
PO Box 202, Consul SK S0N 0P0


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