Dr. Harold James Sauder, 94, of Independence, Kansas, a podiatrist for over 65 years, passed away at his home on March 28, 2020. Dr. Sauder is survived by his wife Martha Sauder, who was the love of his life, his devoted partner and staunchest advocate. They have two daughters, Laura Lynn Stout and Julie Sauder Miller. Throughout his life, he was known for his deep dedication to family, friends and community, a strong work ethic that he imparted on all those he touched, an insatiable curiosity, and a playful humor with those he loved.
Harold was born March 21, 1926, in Virgil, Kansas, to Christian Sauder and Dena Jennie Ott Sauder. He was the youngest of eight children and was raised on a farm near Madison, Kansas, along with two brothers and five sisters. He attended Madison High School, graduating in 1944. After high school, Harold enlisted in the United States Air Force and was sent to Amarillo, Texas in 1944 for air crew training, serving until October of 1945 as World War II ended. He returned to Kansas and attended Emporia State University from 1946 to 1948 and graduated from the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago in 1952. Harold married Martha Jeanette Madole on June 3, 1951, in Winfield, Kansas, and they were married for over 68 years.
Dr. Sauder was intent on starting his private podiatry practice in Kansas, settling in Independence in 1952. Practicing podiatry in Independence for over six decades, he regularly saw patients into his 90’s. His practice drew patients from all over southeast Kansas, and one of his greatest joys was easing the pain and improving the lives of his patients. He often gave free medical service and shoes to patients in need, particularly young children.
In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Sauder was an active leader in state and national podiatry organizations. He was a member and president of the Kansas Podiatric Medical Association, was a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), receiving its Meritorious Service Award in 1999, and for decades served as Kansas’ only delegate to the APMA’s Annual Convention. He served for many years, by appointment of both Democratic and Republican governors, on the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which is the licensing and regulatory board for health care providers in Kansas. He was on the staff at Mercy Hospital in Independence, Wilson County Hospital in Neodesha, and Parsons State Hospital.
Dr. Sauder also was active in the Independence community. He was elected to the board of Independence School District 446 for a decade and was president for three of those years. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Mercy Hospital Foundation and recipient of the Mercy Hospital “Spirit of Mercy Award” and Physician of the Year in 1995. He was an active member of the Rotary Club, serving as president and receiving two Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowships, was a member of the Independence Chamber of Commerce, the Red Cross Advisory Board, the First Presbyterian Church Board of Trustees, and Dry Holes investment club, and was active in local, state, and national politics. As a community volunteer, he was equally comfortable chairing a board meeting or painting playground equipment at the church nursery school.
His grandfather Abraham Sauder first purchased farmland in Kansas in 1877, his father was a farmer all his life, and Harold grew up working on his family farm. This heritage gave him a life-long love of the outdoors and farming. He spent untold hours on his farms, clearing brush, planting trees, and improving the land. In his mid-seventies, he and Martha built a home on their farm south of Independence. He loved nothing more than spending time outside working on projects, particularly with his grandsons in tow.
Harold also was a devoted steward of the Sauder family heritage, from his grandfather Abe’s arrival in Kansas, to his parents and his many uncles and aunts and family members in northeast Kansas, to his brothers and sisters, who he adored, to the dozens of nieces and nephews of the next generation and their children.
Dr. Sauder’s legacy includes his reputation as a caring and talented podiatrist to thousands of patients; a life-long leader in state and national podiatry; a diligent and fair-minded community leader of integrity; and a strong and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents, Christian and Dena Sauder; and six of his brothers and sisters, Priscilla Schneider, Dorothy Kennedy, Beulah Hind, Earl Sauder, George Sauder, and Lou Ann Richter.
Survivors are one sister: Nellie Hetherington of Paradise, Arizona; two children: Lori Stout of Kingwood, Texas, and her husband Steve, and Julie Miller of Washington, D.C., and her husband Randy; three grandsons: Christopher Logan Patterson of Kingwood, Texas, and his wife Gena, Matthew Sauder Miller of Los Angeles, California, and Christian James Miller of New York City; and one great grandchild, Katherine Patterson.
The family is particularly grateful for the friendship and care of Kay Willard, both for her forty years working alongside Dr. Sauder and for her love and support throughout that time and in the years before his death. The family is thankful for the support and kindness of Dr. Barry Wesselowski, Dr. Jeff Hogge, and the Family Podiatry staff, his patients and devoted caregivers, Rev. John Wilson and members of the First Presbyterian Church, Dr. Ben Legler and his staff, and the many members of the Independence community.
A service of celebration will be held at a future date due to the current public health crisis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Independence, 201 South Fifth Street, Independence, Kansas, 67301. Webb and Rodrick Chapel is handling the funeral arrangements. Please visit www.webbrodrickfuneralhome.com.