Oatman Mack Saunders II

Oatman Mack Saunders, 88, died at home on June 11, 2012. He was born in West Hartford, Conn. on March 28, 1924, the son of Harland Kenyon Saunders Sr. and Grace Connor Saunders. Oatman attended Starksboro and Hinesburg schools and graduated from Burlington High School in 1942. He began his studies at Bentley School of Accounting and Finance in Boston (now Bentley University in Waltham) in 1942, but at 19 was inducted into the service for World War II. He received a deferment because he was needed to run a farm in Starksboro, but in November of 1943, volunteered for service. He was assigned to the 97th Division Artillery Headquarters Battery and was shipped to France before heading to Germany and the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket and the fall of Dusseldorf. Next, the division arrived at Flossenburg concentration camp, execution site of Dietrich Bonhoffer, one week earlier. The division then aided in the liberation of Cheb, the first Czechoslovakian city liberated by American forces. Upon his release from the service as a first sergeant, Oatman returned to his studies at Bentley in Boston and graduated in 1948, ready to take the CPA exams. While at Bentley and attending church at the First Baptist Church of Watertown, Oatman met his future wife of 62 years, Elizabeth “Betty” Davis from Belmont, Mass. They were married on Sept. 25, 1948, and soon after began their family. In 1961, the family moved to Vermont where Oatman attended classes at UVM and opened a car business with his brother, Jim. Saunders Motors operated in Essex Junction and Burlington until 1967, when Oatman opened his own public accounting business. He retired in 2006. Among his survivors are his twin daughters, Susan and Ellen Saunders of Shelburne; son, Stephen O. Saunders of Essex Junction; seven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church, 38 South Winooski Ave. in Burlington at 10 am on Monday, June 18. Friends may greet the family at a reception in the Chapel following the service. Arrangements are in care of Stephen C. Gregory & Son. In lieu of flowers, Oatman wished donations in his name be added to those in memory of his wife, Betty, for the Organ Console Fund at the First Congregational Church.

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