Marion (Peters) Saunders
Marion (Peters) Saunders
Marion (Peters) Saunders

Obituary of Marion Taylor (Peters) Saunders

Marion Taylor (Peters) Saunders

13 June 1923 – 1 January 2024

Marion Saunders passed away in Boulder on the evening of January 1st at the age of 100. The first child of Susie Matilda (Elliott) and Edmund John Peters, she was born in Harrisburg, PA, on the Mason-Dixon line, which she deemed fitting because her father was from Massachusetts and her mother was an unapologetic Virginian. She was the namesake of her mother's two favorite brothers, Marion (Bud) and Taylor; aptly named because she “inherited” Bud's intellectual curiosity and love of learning and Taylor's love of music and sense of humor.

During the Great Depression, she and her mother spent several years on the family farm near Beckley, WV. As a tomboy and athlete, she was well-suited for farm life with the extended family. She had freedom to roam and to tag along with her young uncles, Billy and Bobby. Her fondest and most enduring childhood memories and stories came from this time.

Achieving goals and celebrating those achievements were of great importance to Marion. Perhaps it can be traced to her own struggles to follow her dreams for education and independence. After graduating from high school, she wanted to go to college, but her father would not support it, believing college was unnecessary for a woman. Instead, he found her a job as a switchboard operator at C&P Telephone. Marion did not give up on her dream. During WWII, she was accepted into the Nurse Cadet Corps, which was her pathway to earning a degree at Georgetown University and to employment as an RN. Her experiences during her training were transformative both personally and professionally. She had gained a means of independence, recognition for her abilities and skills, and the shared experiences that made for lifelong friendships.

In 1950, Marion married James F. Saunders Jr. in whom she had found a life partner, and for the next 70+ years they supported each other in their love of the outdoors, the arts, travel, education, and the exploration of new experiences and ideas. Marion continued working as a nurse until her husband graduated from college and found a job. Then she opted to take on the role of homemaker and kindergarten homeschooler for her two children. Nevertheless, she maintained a strong interest in nursing and kept up-to-date with changes and advances in the field.

In the days before the internet and Google searches, Marion was a diligent researcher and an obsessive planner and list-maker. She developed grocery lists designed for a specific direction of travel through the many aisles, and she compiled camping checklists (with columns for dates used) that ensured not only that nothing would be forgotten, but also identified the placement of each item in a packing box and in the car.

Her true glory, however, was in trip planning. Her collection of AAA maps, guidebooks, and Triptiks (not to mention relevant articles and brochures about noteworthy places on the route) would eventually occupy a full, 4-drawer file cabinet. These trips, whether for the day or a cross country marathon, were scheduled and orchestrated by her, and heaven help anyone who suggested an unplanned side trip.

By all accounts, she was not an enthusiastic or adventurous cook, despite having an extensive and eclectic cookbook collection. However, she did have a few specialties, each done to perfection (especially the hollandaise sauce for eggs benedict or asparagus). There was nothing like coming home to the smell of garlic and knowing that she had made spaghetti with clam sauce and garlic bread. Marion's ultimate claim to culinary fame, and the one that garnered universal praise, was her annual Christmas whiskey cakes that were distributed nationwide to family and friends.

Far and away, Marion's greatest passion and source of pride was her family. She maintained close contact with relatives and was long active in genealogical research. One of her major life goals and accomplishments was to see all four of her granddaughters graduate from college. She supported and encouraged her children and grandchildren in their pursuit of formal education, as well as learning opportunities through sports, travel or cultural experiences. She especially enjoyed hearing all about their adventures. She leaves a rich legacy of meaningful, if sometimes quirky, stories: sharing prized black jellybeans, watching Spice World three times, chasing a frozen duck down a hill, and football throwing lessons. She could be warm, funny, fierce or strong; but above all she loved her family. She will be missed.

Marion is survived by son James F Saunders III (Susan Saunders) of Boulder; daughter, Ann Leigh Saunders (Eliceo Gonzales) of Galveston, TX; granddaughters Alyssa Saunders (Blake Macnab) of Portland, OR, Molly Saunders (Brian Pierce) of Longmont, Franny Gonzales (Feng Zheng) of Houston, TX, and Eleanor Gentry (Alec Gentry) of Salt Lake City, UT; and great-granddaughters Fenix Zheng and Audrey Macnab. Marion will be interred alongside her husband at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver. There will be no public memorial service. Contributions can be made to TRU Community Care, which provided hospice care for Marion.

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