Myrl Daniel Sauder, 82, passed away September 10, 2021, at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Toledo of pancreatic cancer after a long and fruitful life. He was born in Archbold, Ohio, on January 10, 1939, to Erie J. and Leona (Short) Sauder. Myrl’s love of learning began in childhood exploring the world of work and innovation that surrounded him as he watched his parents and others build Sauder Woodworking Co. He graduated from Archbold High School in 1957 and went on to receive a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from The Ohio State University. After receiving his degree, he served in an Indianapolis, Indiana hospital maintenance department for 2 years in lieu of military service. It was there that he met his wife, Freida Gingerich. They married on November 14, 1964.
Myrl then returned to Sauder Woodworking Co. in 1965 and over the years rose to the role of Vice President of Engineering. In 2004, Myrl retired from management and joined the Innovation Group at Sauder to become the “Chief Tinkerer” as he called himself. Throughout his 55-year career at Sauder he led key efforts to invent new products and new machines that would help Sauder become a world class furniture manufacturer. Myrl became the company’s biggest champion for one of its core values of “finding better ways” as evidenced by his 16 patents. Working alongside his brother Maynard, the Sauder companies saw incredible growth going from $12 Million in sales in 1975 to over $500 million in 2000. Work was a joyous and satisfying part of his life where he delighted in interacting with coworkers.
Myrl contributed to the community through sharing his wisdom on numerous boards including serving as Chairman of Sauder Woodworking Board for 8 years, as well as serving on the boards of Sauder Village, Pettisville School, Care & Share, andthe Fulton County Fair Foundation among others. He was also active in Tedrow Mennonite Church serving as a youth group leader for many years with Freida, as an elder, worship leader and on the Finance Committee.
Myrl was known for his humble spirit, and he took genuine interest in others regardless of their status. He had a unique way of brightening one’s day and making each person feel most important. He was a natural leader, not because he sought to be a leader, but because he sought to be a servant to those around him. He loved learning, whether from people or experiences, and knew the value of hard work, but also the importance of having fun. He was as creative in his play as in his work, and often initiated activities that were wildly fun, but less than safe. He valued people over things as shown by his compassionate nature and big heart. He spent a lifetime building a legacy of generosity and servanthood. His greatest desire was to glorify God by using the gifts he had been given.
Myrl and Freida enjoyed 56 years of marriage, and together leave a legacy of generosity and kindness to their family and all who know them. Freida survives along with their three children: Nancy (Doug) Yoder, Daniel (Esmeralda) Sauder, and Julie (Trevor) Crossgrove. Their grandchildren who also survive: Lauren (Cale) Frey, Ashlyn (Aaron) Dunlap, Jordan (Sarah) Bontrager, Aaron and Carly Bontrager, Stephanie (Tim) Slye, Michelle (Mark) Harmon, Kirstin (Alex) Moss, Tessa Yoder, Caleb (Lauren) Yoder, and Micah Yoder; Daniel (Shea) Sauder, Andrew (Maddie) Sauder, Elizabeth Sauder; Lindsey, Harley, and Tara Crossgrove, along with great grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. Myrl was preceded in death by his parents, brother and sister-in-law Delmar and Evelyn Sauder, brother Maynard Sauder, stepsister Elaine (Dave) Graber, and son-in-law, Greg Bontrager.
There will be a public visitation at Founder’s Hall on Tuesday, September 14th and Friday, September 17th from 4-8:00 pm. There will be a private burial at Pettisville Cemetery as well as a private celebration of life service. A livestream of the celebration of life will be available on Saturday, September 18th at 2:30 pm. The livestream link will be available on Grisier Funeral Homes website, www.grisierfh.com, on Myrl’s obituary page. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Sauder Village or Little Eden Camp. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.grisierfh.com. The Grisier Funeral Home of Archbold has been entrusted with the arrangements.