NewsEvangeline Parish


Services set for Judge John Saunders

Posted at 4:08 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 17:51:32-04

Funeral services are set for Tuesday for Judge John D. Saunders, who died Monday surrounded by family.

Saunders, 78, served the people of Louisiana for 46 years as an attorney, as a State Senator, and as a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Ville Platte on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Father Tom Voorhies, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, will be celebrant of the Mass and will conduct funeral services. Entombment will take place at Sacred Heart Mausoleum.

At the request of the family, a visitation will be held at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, beginning at 11:30 AM until time of service. A rosary will be recited by Deacon Chuck Ortego on Tuesday at 12:30 PM. Due to current COVID precautions masks must be worn at Church.

Saunders was a graduate of Sacred Heart High School and Louisiana State University School of Law. He was a member of many civic and professional organizations including the Louisiana Commission on Criminal Justice, Louisiana State and Evangeline Parish Bar Associations, Sentencing Commission, Jaycees, Louisiana Association of Educators’ President’s, Louisiana State University Alumni Association, and Mamou Youth, Inc.

He served the ones he loved for 78 years as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a mentor, and a friend.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Susan Manuel Saunders; son, Wesley Saunders and wife, Sheila of Pine Prairie; stepson, Jacob Bellow and wife, Michelle of Ville Platte; stepdaughter, Laura Bellow Cormier of Lafayette; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; his super uncle, Erray Manuel of Ville Platte; his nieces and nephews, Dr. Jean-Jacques Saunders, Henri Saunders, and Danielle Saunders Mixon all of Baton Rouge; and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ellis and Mae Manuel Saunders.

"The relationships he built throughout his life benefited and blessed the lives of all those who had the pleasure to be a part of it. He always maintained the willingness and energy to empathize with those he helped. In any setting he found himself, he could be captivating and compassionate while teaching those who listened. He was always successful bringing people together by focusing on the good in others. He saw the dignity of his career and was truly a man for the People," his obituary states. "He has taken every opportunity to prepare those he loved for the challenges and pain life presents. He was the persevering oak with a beautiful magnolia by his side who nurtured and protected the family he created. Taking the judge’s oath, he promised that he would make us proud, and that promise he has certainly kept. He asked us to do what we do best, to fear not, and to think of others before ourselves. The legacy he created is here with the people he touched, and now he is asking us to fear not and continue this legacy."

Feed My Sheep
“Go into the deep,” the Savior said.
“If you would my Disciple be.
Fear not the cold and dark of night.
Fear not the angry sea.”

“Be not afraid I say to you.
Fear not the waters deep.
Go do the task you’re sent to do.
Then come home and feed my sheep!”

“Go into the deep,” the Savior said.
“The large fish all swim deep.
Go labor long with happy hearts.
Then come home and feed my sheep.”

-Judge John D. Saunders

In lieu of flowers the family request donations to be made to Sacred Heart School Foundation, (114 Trojan Lane, Ville Platte, LA 70586, 337-363-8050) and Louisiana Right to Life (200 Robert E. Lee Blvd, New Orleans, LA 504-835-6520,

Ardoin’s Funeral Home in Ville Platte is in charge of arrangements. To see the full obituary, click here.