Saundra Upshaw


May 30, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Saundra Sue Upshaw, 74, Iola, passed away Saturday, May 27, 2017, at Research Medical Center, Kansas City, Mo.

Saundra was born Nov. 8, 1942, at St. John’s Hospital, Iola, the daughter of Robert Thayer Anderson and Elsie B. (Thurber) Anderson. Her mother passed away during her birth. She was raised by her grandparents, Axel “A.W.” and Nora Anderson until she was 6. Her father then married Thelma Buck, whom Saundra considered her mother. Robert and Thelma had two additional daughters. Her father’s work led them to many places. Saundra graduated from Poplar Bluff High School, Poplar Bluff, Mo., in 1960. She then returned to Iola to attend junior college. On Aug. 19, 1962, she married Paul Upshaw at First Presbyterian Church in Iola. She and Paul then attended Emporia State University. Paul’s first teaching position took them to Topeka, where their first child, Melanie, was born. In 1965, Saundra earned a bachelor of science in education from Washburn University. In 1975, the family moved to Westphalia. Saundra was able to stay at home with their children until they all entered school. In 1977, she began teaching at Le Roy Elementary School. Saundra received her master’s degree from Emporia State in 1980. They moved to their current home in Iola in 1987. After 26 years of teaching, she retired in 2004.

Saundra was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church, where she was a Sunday School teacher, member of the church choir, the U.M.W., and the administrative board. She was also a member of Alpha Delta Kappa Teacher’s Sorority and Iola Community Theater Board. Saundra was very active, volunteering for many activities including Allen County Hospice, Relay For Life, and singing for the Iola nursing home residents. She was a devoted grandmother, attending as many of her grandchildren’s events as possible.

Saundra was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Linda Lanier, and an infant son, Robert Henry.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Paul, of the home; daughter, Melanie Whitmore and husband Scott, Topeka; three sons, Lentz Upshaw and wife Amy, Manhattan, Dennis Upshaw and wife Tiffanie, St. Louis, and Mark Upshaw and fiancé Megan Musick, Shawnee; 12 grandchildren, Alicia, Erica and Stephanie Whitmore, Hannah, Joshua, Josiah, Isaiah, and Elijah Upshaw, Mira, Anna, Henry and Tommy Upshaw; and sister, Debbie Shaip and husband Paul, Danville, Va.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Calvary United Methodist Church, Iola. Burial will follow in Highland Cemetery, Iola. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service Chapel, Iola. Memorial contributions may be made to Calvary United Methodist Church or Allen County Hospice and left in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be left at