Lou Sanders, the founder of the Mineola American weekly newspaper and a World War II veteran, died Friday, his family said. He was 94.
Sanders launched the community paper with his wife, Grace, in 1952 and continued to write his column, “Around Town with Lou,” after his retirement five years ago.
“He was one of those generations of men that helped build the community into what it is today,” said a son, Thomas Sanders of New Hyde Park.
Lou Sanders was born in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens and was drafted into the Army during World War II. He served four years in Europe as a combat engineer.
After the war, Sanders earned a journalism degree from New York University and married his wife of 68 years. He worked for several weekly papers and the Binghamton Press, a daily.
The couple moved to Long Island to start the Mineola American. They ran the paper for 40 years, with Grace working as business manager.
Sanders’ daughter, Sister Annmarie Sanders of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Lexington Park, Maryland, said she recalled her father debating topics for the paper’s editorials at the dinner table and frequently discussing the news of the world with his children.
“I think he loved people and highlighting other people’s accomplishments, and that’s what drew him into journalism,” Annmarie Sanders said. “He had a great opportunity to make a difference in the community.”
The couple didn’t shy away from controversy or confronting wrongs, his daughter said.
“He saw injustices and needs not being met or businesses not doing the best they could,” Annmarie Sanders said. “He was pretty fearless in calling for change and the best decisions to be made for all.”
Sanders sold the newspaper to the Anton Media Group in 1992, but continued his regular column.
Other survivors include a son, Richard Sanders of Garden City, and three granddaughters.
A wake is scheduled Monday at Cassidy Funeral Home, 156 Willis Ave., in Mineola from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at Corpus Christi Church on Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. in Mineola. Burial will follow at Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.