Saunders comes home to be parade marshal

A Catawba County native and World War II pilot, who came home to become chief pilot and a top executive with North Carolina’s Piedmont Airlines, is going to be honored on his home turf.

Harold Kimball “Zeke” Saunders will be grand marshal for the 123rd annual Soldiers Reunion parade in Newton on Aug. 16. The 91-year-old will ride at the front of the patriotic festival parade which honors Catawba’s veterans of all wars.

Saunders has ties to the first veterans who were honored at the reunions begun in 1889. He recalls attending Reunion parades as a young child with his step-grandfather, a Confederate veteran. His grandfather and confederate soldier, Gilbert Sherrill was killed in the Civil War.

Reared in the Long Island community of eastern Catawba County and now residing in retirement in Winston-Salem, Saunders has spent his life involved in aviation.

“We are fortunate to have a local World War II hero who still leads an active life to participate in this year’s Reunion paradem,” said long-time Reunion General Chairman Wayne Dellinger. “Mr. Saunders will certainly be one of few veterans of that war who will be able to be with us for the events.”    

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.