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Remembering Our Founder

The Legacy

   Marvin Clyde Zanders - 1934 - 2010

The legacy of Marvin Clyde Zanders, the fifth of ten children born to Dr. William Napoleon and Grace B. Zanders began October 25, 1934 in Winter Garden, Florida. A love for God and Education was a priority in the Zanders household.  It was during his grammar and grade school years his passionate call to become a mortician ignited a keen interest in funeral services. His high school days provided much insight into the future of this ambitious young man. He developed an appreciation for jazz while laying a foundation for a life of significance through discipline, determination and dedication. Marvin was blessed early with a desire to be a successful entrepreneur.

Knowing that dreams without hard work would yield nothing, Marvin formulated a work ethic that would follow him the rest of his life. He was a driver, gardener, and grave digger for the Pittman Funeral Home of Winter Park, Florida. Walking from Winter Park, Florida to Orlando, Florida to work at the Starks and Day Funeral Home was the norm for this young man who had a calling to fulfill. He also worked side by side with Eunice Wilson digging graves for the Eichelberger Funeral Home of Sanford, Florida. This dedication helped Marvin understand the words of poet Robert Frost, "I have miles to walk and promises to keep before I sleep."       

In 1949, he moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey and completed high school. This move opened many doors and provided him countless opportunities to pursue his dreams. He became associated with the Anderson Funeral Service. He remained there until he enrolled in the New York School of Embalming and Restorative Art. His classroom training was enhanced by his field training at the Mickey Funeral Home, New York City, New York and Alleyene Funeral Home, Bronx, New York. Upon completing his mortuary science training, he returned to Winter Park, Florida and resumed employment at Starks Funeral Home. He held such positions as: assistant manager, Starks Funeral Home; Stone Funeral Home in Sanford, Florida and Cocoa, Florida; Manager at the O.B. Samuel's Funeral Home in Williston, Florida; training under Clyde A. Dabney Funeral Home, Leesburg, Florida; Bruton and Williams Funeral Home, Sanford, Florida, and Edward Williams Funeral Home, Sanford, Florida.

 In 1960, Marvin's dream of ownership was realized when he and a co-worker opened the doors of Bruton and Zanders Funeral Home in Apopka, Florida. Shortly thereafter, it became Marvin C. Zanders Funeral Home - Marvin as sole proprietor. The first building was a small structure and Marvin had a vision for a larger place so that he could provide greater service. God's favor, hard work, and self denial enabled him to secure 232 West Michael Gladden Blvd, (current location), Apopka, Florida. At this new location, Zanders preparation, determination, and dedication for providing prompt, efficient, dignified, professional services to all families in their time of need regardless of their resources propelled the Marvin C. Zanders Funeral Home into one of the premier establishments for funeral service in the United States of America. Zanders served the families of Central Florida for over fifty years.

Marvin's philanthropic spirit and zeal for helping others along the way has not gone unnoticed. He felt that as we give back, we all become better and stronger. "God gave me a chance, let me give my fellowman a chance," was the creed he lived by. He loved his community and, he gave generously for scholarships, to institutions of higher learning, local schools and countless community organizations.  In addition he gave generously to the various Mortician Associations on the local, State and National level to insure the perpetuity of its existence and mission. The community responded to his gestures by creating the Marvin C. Zanders Park in Winter Garden, Florida; the renaming of Lake Avenue in Apopka, Florida to the Marvin C. Zanders Avenue; the Marvin C. Zanders Day declaration by both the City of Apopka and Orange County, just to name a few of his honors. His lifetime achievements, honors and awards are housed on display at the house that Marvin Clyde Zanders built.  His work ethics, his attention to details, and his desire to serve and be of service to all in need, defined the man, his values; thus, earning him and his institution, "The People's Choice."

This servant of God, lover of people and ambassador of goodwill transitioned to his heavenly mansion on December 12, 2010. Thus, leaving behind an impeccable legacy!