Cover photo for Ken Sanders's Obituary
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1951 Ken 2023

Ken Sanders

April 17, 1951 — March 2, 2023

Kenneth Arlen Sanders, age 71, passed away on March 2, 2023, surrounded by his loving family following a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Born April 17, 1951, in Moorhead, Minnesota, he was the son of the late George Ray and Lillian Sanders.  Ken joined the US Marine Corps at the age of 20 and began working in the construction industry after being honorably discharged. He met his wife, Penny Lynn Kuhn Abney Sanders, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thanksgiving in 1977.  They moved to Colorado in May 1978 and were married on July 29, 1978.  They had two children, Jana Sanders Nilsen and Shane Sanders. Ken went back to school in the 90s to earn his GED, Bachelor of Business Administration, a Master of Business Administration, and had been working towards a PhD in Education Administration and Business Administration.

He was an active member of the Mesa County Search and Rescue ATV Team, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Trails Program Grant Committee, as well as the Western Slope ATV Association. He was also involved with the Bureau of Land Management and the Grand Valley Ranger District to help support trail programs.  He was an avid hunter, fisherman, and enjoyed going to yard sales.  His favorite hobby however was his grandchildren.  Ken was always available and eager to spend time with his grandkids, taking them hunting or fishing, feeding them ice cream for breakfast, and many other things that made their parents cringe.

He was proceeded in death by his parents, George Ray and Lillian Sanders; his sisters, Mae Schense and Mary Jane Hegeholz; his brothers, Don, Dean, and Jack Sanders; and his daughter, Shawn Kuhn.

Ken is survived by his wife, Penny Sanders; daughter, Jana Nilsen (Eivind); son, Shane Sanders (Nykky); five grandchildren, Janniece and Tyler Sanders, and Jozlyn, Anekah, and Harper Nilsen; sisters, Rae Sanders and Ila Larson (Bernie); brothers, David and Art Sanders; sister-in laws, Marlene and Pat Sanders; brother-in laws, Ron and Darrel (Susie) Kuhn; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 1:00 pm at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado followed by a reception at the Grand Valley Events Center (2400 Consistory Court, Grand Junction, CO 81501).

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Mesa County Search and Rescue ATV Team (PO Box 4283, Grand Junction, Colorado 81502-4283) or to HopeWest (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ken Sanders, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Honors Ceremony

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado

2830 Riverside Pkwy, Grand Junction, CO 81501

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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