Since I made a tribute to Carl's brother, Bill, in 2021, I'm going to use his tribute and add more for there might be some overlap and you may remember seeing Bill's tribute.
It takes me hours to lay out these tributes, so when I can find some shortcuts, I'll take them.

Dave Kusel

There were many wonderful and amazing songs in the 1950s including some great TV shows....also a more "innocent" time in our history which can be based on just the titles of the songs.
Some tunes from 1958
"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" Chipmunks With David Seville
Bobby Darin "Splish Splash"
"Born Too Late" Poni-Tails
Chordettes "Lollipop"
Everly Brothers "All I Have to do is Dream"
Jiles Perry Richards The Big Bopper "Chantilly Lace"
Jimmie Rodgers "Kisses sweeter than wine"
KingstonTrio "Tom Dooley"
Laurie London "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands"
"Sail Along Silvery Moon" Billy Vaughn & his Orchestra
"The Rifleman"
"When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)" Louis Armstrong

Carl A. Saunders
Carl Alan Saunders, 83, of Fort Madison, died peacefully Thursday, August 17, 2023, with his wife, Debbie, and his children at his side. Carl lost his first kidney in 2000, and his second kidney started failing in 2018. He has fought a losing battle over the past 3 years since starting dialysis. His will to push through and live never wavered regardless of the tremendous medical hurdles that came, one after the other. His grit, humility, and unbending strength throughout this painful journey has filled those that love him with so much pride. Ultimately, his body could not hold him any longer.

Carl was born July 27, 1940, to Jeanne (Donnelly) and Merle Saunders. Carl grew up a Catholic farm boy in Manning, Iowa with his siblings: Kay Houghton who survives him, Dennis, William, and Mildred. He graduated from Manning High School in 1958, started college at Iowa State, however two weeks in, while in a lecture, he had a change of heart. He quit and joined the Navy. After Carl’s medical discharge from the Navy, he decided to give his education a second go, this time at the University of Iowa, where he would go on to receive his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1967.

Carl met Susan Welch while studying in Iowa City. They married and moved to Fort Madison for Carl to begin his law practice and start a family. Carl and Sue raised three children, Michael, Stephen and Emily. The family suffered a tragic loss of Stephen’s unexpected death in 1989, which would serve to deepen the family’s faith.

Carl married the love of his life, Debra (Reynolds) Saunders on May 2, 1992. Debbie brought two more children into Carl’s life, Ross, and Jill. Debbie worked as Carl’s legal secretary and together they navigated a career in law spanning more than five decades. Their passion for the law inspired their children to follow suit. Emily first joined her dad’s firm in 1999 until she took the bench in 2007; Ross next joined the firm in 2012 until he became the Lee County Attorney in 2017, Jill joined the firm as a paralegal in 2015, and Carl’s daughter-in-law, Trina, also was a paralegal for many years in Illinois. Carl was a beloved member of the local bar association. He held himself to the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and compassion.

Carl was a lifelong athlete. As a typical kid growing up in a small town, he played every sport. As an adult, Carl enjoyed softball teams, tennis leagues, racquetball, biking, basketball leagues and running. He was a dad coach of many baseball teams and loved teaching his children to swim and play tennis. He would bike RAGBRAI four times, including once with Michael and twice with Emily, and founded Fort Madison’s still-active Team Gnarley. He ran a marathon and helped coach Emily in running hers. Carl taught countless children to swim, first as a job through law school, and then locally by opening up his private pools to neighborhood children to utilize any time he would put the flag out (the signal the pool was open for business).

When Michael joined the Aquinas tennis team in Fort Madison in 1984, Carl created a fundraiser, The Tennis Court Gala, that funded the installation of four tennis courts at Aquinas high school. Carl was a lifelong servant to the Fort Madison Catholic school system, serving as school board president for several years. Although providing the tennis courts to Aquinas was a huge accomplishment for Carl, his most important contribution, at least fiscally, came in establishing the Tri State Rodeo concessions contract for Aquinas in the 1980s, which continues to serve as the school’s largest annual fundraiser involving hundreds of students and families. Carl loved the rodeo and served as rodeo chairman for what would be known as the wettest rodeo in history.

Carl adored being a dad, a husband, and a grandpa. He and Debbie fell in love with Sanibel Island, Florida where they would vacation annually and open their door for all children and grandchildren to join. Carl was a lifelong Cub fan. He and Debbie, along with Michael and Trina and their boys, witnessed a dream come true in 2016 watching the Cubs win the World Series. Because of Carl, every child and grandchild of his are Cub fans for life, each taking in dozens of games at Wrigley with him over the years.

Carl loved coffee with the guys, a convertible ride with his wife, a train ride into Chicago, a margarita on the beach, a martini at night, and a home-cooked meal with family. “Gross Carlos” as his friends called him, had a lightning quick, sarcastic wit that could cut through the toughest of times. He had a faith that never faltered. His love and pride in family sets an example for all who were blessed to know him.

Carl is survived by his wife, Debra; sister, Kay Houghton; son, Michael (Trina) Saunders; daughter, Emily (Brent) Ruther; son, Ross (Sarah) Braden; and daughter, Jill (Adrian) McKay. Surviving grandchildren include: Katie (Jacob) Ludy with great-grandson, Eli; Rachel, Caleb, and Joshua Saunders; Alex (Olivia) Dean; Noah Dean; Annaka and Mia Ruther; Mylin and Vayda Braden; and Braden and Julian McKay. Carl is now reunited in Heaven with son, Stevie, along with his parents and siblings, Denny, Bill, and Milly.

The family will hold a private mass in the coming days. Cremation has been entrusted to the care of King-Lynk Funeral Home & Crematory. Per Carl’s wishes, an Irish Wake will be held this fall and announcements will be sent out. Memorials have been established for P.A.W. Animal Shelter, 2031 48th Street, Fort Madison, IA 52627 or Holy Trinity Catholic Schools, C/O Thomas Gendron, 2600 Avenue A, Fort Madison, IA 52627. The family asks that they be sent directly to those entities. Online condolences to Carl’s family may be left at the King-Lynk Funeral Home & Crematory website:

1958 MHS graduates: Delores Ahrendsen, Berneil Antone, Dorothy Barten, Marilyn Bogatzke, Alerd Borkowski, Ronald Brus, Betty Dammann, Darlene Eckholdt, Leanne Ehlers, Gary Handlos, Marilyn Handlos, John Hansen, Larry Hansen, Priscilla Hiatt, Floyd Irlbeck, Janice Irlmeier, Jeanette Jahn, Susan Jansen, Janice Jensen, Gerald Kasperbauer, Donald Keat, Gary Koon, Judith Kuhl, James Kuker, Allen Laurinat, Marcia Martens (valedictorian), Linda Meggers, Gary Neubaum, Ruth Ohde, Joyce Renze, Carl Saunders, Marilyn Sonksen, Shirley Venteicher, Barbara Vollmer (salutatorian), Carol Vollstedt, Judith Wegner, Rae Lynne Wycoff

1958 former students: Larry Anthony, Karin Bauer, Roger Beck, Richard Brockelsby, Roger Christensen, Wesley Cooper, Wilbert Ehlers, Judy Espenhover, Linda Fisher, Janice Ford, Ronnie Frank, Jerome Gordon, Alan Groppe, Imogene Haberl, Mary Ann Hagedorn, Arden Hargens, Phyllis Himes, Judith Hugg, Larry Jentsch, Wayne Justice, Thomas Koch, Mary Jo Lingle, Joan Martens, DeAnn Miller, Wanda Miller, Robert Moore, Dennis Moran, Allen Muhlbauer, Susan Paulsen, Eugene Petersen, Raymond Platter, Vincent Ress, Karen Sander, Deloris Schroeder, Burton Schrum, Patricia Sextro, Barbara Spence, Steve Synhorst, William Tigges, Rita Wellendorf, Damian White, Carol Wyatt

School articles

September 18, 1957 Homecoming parade

Back: left: Rae Lynn Wycoff, center Darlene Eckholdt right Barbara Vollmer
driving: Carl Saunders, passenger Jack Hansen
unknown crown bearers

1956-57 football team, senior class

Back: Dennis Saunders, Jon Groteluschen, Robert Horbach, Larry Nielsen, Eugene Haberl, Dale Jansen, Ronnie Hodne, Larry Lohrmann
Front: Victor Schwiesow, Vernon Wagner, Larry Zerwas, Ray Fink, Tom Koon, Royce Genzen, Bob Laverty

13 standing: Roger Reinke, Donald Hodne, Cliff Stammer, Randall Jansen, Ron Timmerman, David Sextro, Rollin Kuhl, Gary Monson, Dennis Loftus, Marvin Vennink, Warren Puck, Coach Ray Standerwick, Coach John Beach
8 Third Row: Keith Hass, Junior Bonnesen, Philip Knaack, Larry Nielsen, Rob Horbach, Larry Zerwas, Ray Fink, Gary Neubaum
9 Second Row: Gary Koon, Allan Fonken, Dave Peters, Allen Laurinat, Larry Popp, Dale Jansen, Carl Saunders, Tom Koon, Dennis Grimm
9 Front Row: Victor Schwiesow, Jon Groteluschen, Bob Laverty, Larry Rowedder, Eugene Haberl, Royce Genzen, Larry Lohrmann, Ronald Hodne, Vernon Wagner

1957 baseball team
Back: Coach Ray Standerwick, Larry Rowedder, Carl Saunders, Allan Fonken, Robert Horbach, Bob Laverty, Larry Zerwas, Joel Grundmeier
Front: Ronald Timmerman, Victor Schwiesow, Larry Nielsen, Jon Groteluschen, Dick Popp, Vernon Wagner

1955 football team
Back: Coach John Beach, Warren Puck, Student Manager; Vernon Wagner, Robert Horbach, Ronnie Peters, Larry Genzen, Larry Nielsen, Eugene Haberl, Gary Koon, Tom Koon, Dale Jansen, Larry Zerwas, Larry Witt, Phil Knaack, Robert Beisch, Coach Ray Standerwick
Second: Victor Schwiesow, Allen Muhlbauer, Larry Lohrmann, Ronnie Hodne, Bob Froyd, Roger Hagedorn, Royce Genzen, Dennis Saunders, Bob Laverty, Carl Saunders, Allen Laurinat, Ray Fink
Front: Billy Genzen, Ronnie Mohr, Hans "Junior" Bonnesen, Larry Rowedder, Gary Monson, Keith Pfannkuch, Dennis Grimm, Dick Bowers, Richard Brockelsby, Keith Hass, Allan Fonken, David Peters

1955 Homecoming Royalty

Back: Sally Wanninger, Kay Saunders, Janet Kuhl, Delores Eckholdt, Myrene Rowedder
Front: Peggy Puck, Queen Deanna Donaghu, Craig Ruhde

1956 Prom - Tulip Time for Holland

Back: Gary Neubaum, Carl Saunders, Allen Laurinat, Jerry Kasperbauer, Jim Kuker
Front: Judy Kuhl, Judy Hugg, Ruth Ohde, Darlene Eckholdt, Barb Vollmer
Missing: Gary Handlos, Allen Laurinat

1955-56 Fourth grade
Back: Lois Laverty - teacher, David Anderson, Mary Zerwas, Tom Bromert, Karla Kusel, LeRoy Joens, Karen Brady, John Swander, Georgia Schroeder, Gary Wiese, Bill Graner
Middle: John Lippincott, Jerry Hockett, Kent Weible, Joan Graves, Bob Venteicher, Linda Mundt, Patsy Popp, Ron McConnell, Rita Vehrs, Paul Vogl, ??
Front: Janice Ress, David Steckelberg, Gloria Mohr, Lance Monson, Dianna Volquartsen, Bill Saunders, Don Wagner, Gene Beckman, Bob Heithoff, Jack Ramsey, ?Gary Beck?, Genevieve Asmus

Junior high football (undefeated) 1960-61 seventh and eight grade.
Back: Charles Brotherton - coach, Nate Dappen, Doug Kusel, Albert "Butch" Jansen, Tom Schroeder
Third: Don Kingsbury, Lonnie Kasperbauer, Gary Eischeid, Steve Ruhde, Craig Grau, John Doyel, Dan Pratt
Second: Hilbert "Huey" Hoffman - manager, Steve Rutz, Phil Sextro, Bill Ohde, Bill Saunders, Mike Hoffman, Jeff Musfeldt, Daru Ross - manager
Front: Mark Joens, John Beckman, Nick Dappen, Dave Hass, Steve Musfeldt, Steve Atkins, Dennis Vaudt

1964 Football
Standing: Kelly Pratt, Gary Knueven, Ron Arp, Rick Hargens, Michael Blum, Allen Muhlbauer
Middle: David "Nubs" Dammann, Dave Rauch, Mark Joens, Douglas Kusel, Steve Ruhde, Dennis Ohde, Steve Atkins, Nicholas Dappen, John Beckman, Bruce "Stump" Rutz, Tom Jensen, Charles Moore
Front: Nathan Dappen, Jeff Musfeldt, Phil Sextro, Dan Pratt, Craig Grau, Tom Schroeder, Mike Hoffman, Steve Rutz, Curt Grimm, John Doyle, Bill Saunders, Ray Dentlinger, Lonny Kasperbauer

Kay Saunders

Dennis Saunders MHS 1957

Carl Saunders MHS 1958

Millie Saunders MHS 1975

Kay Saunders & Merlin Ramsey

Saunders Drive-in 1956

Saunders Steak House menu

1970 menu

Saunders Steak House ad in the 1981 Manning Centennial book

Merlin & Muriel Kunkel with Keith Kelderman (back) 1963 in Saunders Steak House

Ella (Mordhorst) & John Rowedder 45th anniversary in the Saunders Steak House

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