Rev. Joe W. Sanderson

A memorial service will be held Monday for the former rector of the Church of the Epiphany. Rev. Joe W. Sanderson, affectionately known as” Father Joe,” died Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at his home in Guntersville.

The service will begin at 11:00 at the Church of the Epiphany and will be followed by a reception at Sanderson Hall.

The son of Etta Agee Sanderson and Lewis Wesley Sanderson, Rev. Sanderson was educated at Columbia Military Academy, the University of the South, Sewanee, and Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1963.

He served parishes in Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama. In Alabama, he was rector of Trinity, Wetumpka, and St. Luke’s in Jacksonville before becoming rector of Epiphany. He served in Guntersville for 16 years before retiring in 1999. He then served as priest in charge at St. Barnabas in Hartselle.

Under Rev. Sanderson’s leadership at the Church of the Epiphany, a new church was dedicated on Sunset Drive on Epiphany Sunday 1991.

He was especially involved in the healing ministry of those suffering from addiction and served on the Diocesan Recovery Commission for many years. He was also active in Cursillo, appointed by Bishop Stough to the Secretariat as spiritual director for several terms. When Hospice of Marshall County was formed by Gayle Roadruck, he served as chaplain.                                                            

One of Rev. Sanderson’s most outstanding qualities, according to his former senior warden, was “to share with the parish family his own spiritual growth with such good humor and honesty that we are able to be honest with ourselves.”

He loved life and was an avid fisherman and hunter. He tied his own flies with great skill.

He is survived by his wife Jan Sanderson, son Marc Sanderson, daughter-in-law Amy Sanderson, daughter Missy Sanderson and grandchildren Julia Stevens, Finn Heatherly, Will Sanderson, Dylan Sanderson and Cati Grace Sanderson.

The family suggests memorials to Epiphany Church and Hospice of Marshall County-Shepherd’s Cove.