OBITUARY: Michael Stephen “Steve” Sanders

Michael Stephen

Michael Stephen Sanders (Steve) age 70 of Marietta, Georgia, passed away on March 3, 2020 following a brief battle with cancer.

A son of the late Robert Clifton and Jean Gary Sanders, Steve was raised in the Bethesda Community (TN) and grew up attending Bethesda Presbyterian Church, built upon land donated by his family some generations past. He often spoke of an idyllic childhood exploring Bethesda on his bike, fishing in farm ponds, and playing basketball in his private indoor court – located in the upper level of the family barn.

As a teenager, Steve’s family moved to Franklin, TN, where his father owned and operated an automobile dealership. He spent many hours working with his father, developing a lifelong ability to identify the make, model, and year of any automobile. Steve attended Franklin High School, graduating in 1967, and then continued his education at Middle Tennessee State University, graduating in 1971 with a B. S. in Mathematics and Computer Science. After graduation, Steve accepted a position with Southern Bell (later BellSouth) as a computer programmer and moved to Birmingham, Alabama.

During his tenure with BellSouth, Steve held numerous positions, including as a BellSouth technology consultant to other telecommunications companies. He spent significant time working in Connecticut, Ohio, and Japan, as well as the BellSouth headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. While working full-time for BellSouth, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Kennesaw State University. Steve retired from BellSouth as a Director in 2001 with almost 30 years of service.

After retiring, Steve spent his time doing whatever he wanted and as he liked, which meant enjoying family, spoiling grandchildren, golfing with friends at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club, playing with his dogs, and traveling with his wife, Catherine.

Steve believed that we must live a life of service to others. He contributed both time and money to various charities, homeless shelters, the food pantry at Timothy Lutheran Church, Special Olympics, MUST Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, and Family Promise of Cobb County, Georgia. He spent nine years volunteering with the Lassiter High School Band Booster Association and served on the building committee of Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, where he was a member.

Steve will be remembered as the World’s Greatest “Pa” by his precious grandchildren, Ann Kipley, John Thomas, Evelyn Gray, and Nicole. He was so looking forward to the upcoming birth of his second grandson in April. Steve never tired of pushing swings, reading books, playing games, giving hugs, and acting like a kid again. These children brought Steve great joy and happiness, and he never resisted the urge to brag about every one of them.
For over twenty years, Steve was the love of her life to his wife, Catherine Foster Sanders. He was deeply loved by his daughter, Anna Beth Sanders Martin, and her husband Justin, of Enterprise, Alabama, his step-daughter, Taylor Moss of Auburn, Alabama, and his three step-sons, Garrison Foster (Destiney) of Acworth, Georgia, Brent Foster (Lifei) of New Haven, Connecticut, and Cullen Foster of Marietta, Georgia.

Steve was cherished by his brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Sandra Sanders of Franklin, TN; his sisters and brothers-in-law, Lynn and Jerry Winters of Brentwood, TN, and Dena and Don Abbinante of Dunellen, FL; his father-in-law, Larry Wilson, of Anderson, SC, the mother of his daughters, Henrietta Sanders Barefield of Birmingham, AL, and many more in-laws, nieces, nephews, golf buddies, and numerous special friends around the world.
Steve died firm in the assurance of his risen Savior and the promise of life eternal.

Visitation is scheduled for Sunday, March 8th, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home, 3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 6897 Bethesda-Arno Road, Bethesda, TN. A private family interment will follow in Williamson Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial to one of the following charities or a charity of your choice:
Middle Tennessee State University Foundation
Office of Development
MTSU P.O. Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Memorials can also be made online at the MTSU Alumni Site
Family Promise of Cobb County
1823 Blackwell Road, Marietta, GA 30066
Memorials can also be made online at