Charles Frederick (Fred) Saunders

Charles Frederick (Fred) Saunders passed away on June 5, 2021, at the age of 91.

Born on January 26, 1930, to Charles F. and Mary Reynolds Saunders, he was a lifelong El Pasoan. He attended Dudley School and graduated from El Paso High in 1947. 

Fred joined the Army in 1951 and served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the First Armored Division until he was honorably discharged in 1953.

In February 1955, Fred married his wife, Betsy. That same month, he graduated from Texas Western College (UTEP) with a degree in Business Administration and began his life’s career selling insurance at Saunders and McAfee Insurance, which later merged to become Concord Insurance.

Those who knew him will remember his ready smile and friendly handshake of introduction, “Hi, I’m Fred Saunders from El Paso.” He loved meeting his clients and serving their insurance needs.

He loved his family, his friends, and his country, and never met a dog he didn’t love, as well.

Fred had a lifelong enjoyment of all things mechanical. He built hotrods in high school and learned how to fly in a Piper Cub while in the Army. He had a multi-engine and instrument rating and over the years owned and flew several airplanes along with his beloved military AT-6 Texan which he restored and even entered and flew in the Reno Air Races. He also flew gliders and their tow planes. He was an avid fan of car racing, often attending the Indianapolis 500. He took his family on many cherished adventures off the beaten paths in mountain forests, on lakes, and along seashores. Sleeping in bedrolls on the ground was part of the fun.

Fred enjoyed fishing with buddies along with motorcycling in the jokingly named, “Aw Heck’s Angels”. Fred treasured the social camaraderie of Los Caballeros along with his Thursday morning breakfast group of friends.

In retirement, Fred and Betsy traveled all over the U.S. and Canada in their 1978 GMC motorhome. The annual family vacation in Cloudcroft was also a beloved tradition.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Nancy Wyler. He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Betsy Jones Saunders; daughters, Mary Katherine Ray and husband Rayburn, Susan Lynch and husband Mick; his grandson, Matthew Saunders McCarter; cousin, Anne Pullen; niece, Nancy Reynolds; and nephews, Bobby and Wesley Smith.

He is also survived by the most loving and beloved caregiver, Yolie Gonzalez. The family is also grateful for the help and friendship of Paco Ravelo.

Fred’s family will gather privately to celebrate and remember his life. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association-West Texas Chapter, 110 Mesa Park Drive, Suite 250, El Paso, TX 79912, or any charity of choice.