Obituary: Ray (Raymond) William Sanders

Beloved father, entrepreneur, engineer, musician

Ray (Raymond) William Sanders, son of Ray Sanders and Erma Evelyn Brubaker Sanders and husband of Sally (Sarah) Elizabeth Sanders, died August 16 in Santa Monica at the age of 94. Family members were at his side.

Ray is survived by his children Michael Steven Sanders (72), Steven William Sanders (62), and Joan Elizabeth Sanders (60); grandchildren Michelle (36), Kimberley (22), Sara (20) and Benjamin (20); and his brother Donald Allen Sanders (79).

Ray Sanders was born April 24, 1927, in Pomona. After graduating from the Webb School in Claremont, he served in the United States Navy. He subsequently graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics and a master’s in electrical engineering.

At Stanford, among other activities, he was concert master of the symphony orchestra, a carillonneur, co-founder and chief engineer of the campus radio station KZSU, fraternity president, and an instructor in the electrical engineering, speech and drama departments.

He married Sally in 1957, and together they raised their family in Los Angeles, where Mr. Sanders lived for more than 70 years.

From a very young age he excelled at music, initially taught by his aunt, a piano and violin teacher. By age six he had perfect pitch. He and his sister Betty played numerous violin duets together, including a performance on the Spade Cooley radio program broadcast from KTLA in Los Angeles. After college he continued to play in national concerts.

“Ray’s music was the highlight of get-togethers of family and friends, leaving a warm profound impression in the hearts of its listeners,” his family shared.

In his professional career as an engineer and entrepreneur, he developed innovative telecommunication systems at ITT-Gilfillan and Space General Corporation, including a radar system for the first U.S. space vehicle sent to Mars.
He then founded Tran Telecommunications Corporation in 1969, which became a highly successful maker of digital data communication networks.

Later, he co-founded Nucleus International, a relational database startup. Later in his career he patented a novel synchronized network system to improve the speed and efficiency of data transmission.

He was held in high regard by his peers and was known for his clear logical approach to design.

“Don’t start solving a problem until you know what it is,” he would say.

Ray’s passion and infectious enthusiasm drew in supporters around the globe and together they made a difference in the world,” his family added. “Ray and his wife Sally were a special team. His keen intelligence, quick wit, and calming influence complemented her strong character, passionate drive, and desire for an active life. They instilled a sense of curiosity and active service in their children and grandchildren, who thrived. Ray’s quick-witted humor was an unforgettable spark to the family, especially in the morning as they started their day.”

The family had many adventures together, often in California or Minnesota, which inspired amusing stories retold at family holidays.

Together, he and his wife were active parishioners at the Westwood Presbyterian Church and were instrumental in ARCS, the Freedoms Foundation, and Mills College and Stanford University alumni associations.
“Ray will live on in our memories as a brilliant man with a passion for people and an undaunted love for his family,” they shared. “He will be so sorely missed by all those who loved him.”

Burial will be at Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier.

Services will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 18 at Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.


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