Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Barbara Ree Saunders, 95

| May 19, 2024 12:00 AM

Barbara Ree Saunders, 95, lost her year-and-a-half battle with cancer on May 10, 2024. She passed peacefully at home with lots of love surrounding her.

She was born Oct. 3, 1928, the youngest daughter of Grace Jane and Clarence Lenard Skeen in Burbank, California. Her older siblings were sister, Dorothy and brother, C Lynn. She married her brother’s best friend, Robert William Saunders, when he returned from the Navy, in September 1946. They had a full life together for nearly 70 years. They raised a daughter and two sons moving around Southern California from San Luis Obispo, the Los Angeles area, and the small mountain town of Wrightwood before settling in San Diego as their children grew up. They retired to live in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, for 45 years where together they built their own home in the early days of town growth overlooking the lake and operated a small security window blinds company.

Barbara moved to Whitefish, in 2017 to be closer to family. She was thrilled to enjoy the small town environment again and friendly community atmosphere. At 95 she was the proud mother of three, grandmother to seven, great-grandmother to 14, and was excited to be welcoming her first great-great-grandson.

Her family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren presented her with a “Legend of Barbara” project, each contributing a memory that best describes Barbara as: “Puzzle Master, Saintly Patience, Nice and a Little Naughty, Sparkling Blue Eyes, Loyal Loving Wife, Proud But Humble, Seamstress Extraordinaire, Hugh Heart, EggNog Sipper, Wise Mother and Mother-in-Law, Scuba Diver, Foreign Student Hostess, Boater on Lake Havasu, grandma to seven, Round Waterbed, Reluctant Pilot, 14 great-grands, DIY Aficionado, Athletic Lefty, Stubborn and Adaptable, Cookie Lady, Desert Bloomer, Travel Addict, Teenage Bride, Mother of Three, Quick Laugh, Rusty Mistress, Garden Enthusiast Tine Stature, and Energetic Bunny.”

Barbara lived a full life with lots of adventures and memories. She was able to travel to most of the States in the U.S., plus Baja, Australia, Scotland and Switzerland. Her interest in volunteering was her way to stay active and get out to meet folks. She started joining her daughter at the Whitefish Theatre, Alpine Theatre, Glacier Symphony and often enjoyed many of the Whitefish Chamber events. Soon she was lending her hand at the Whitefish Food Bank, then prepping for Meals on Wheels at the Whitefish Community Center, where she also regularly joined the Senior Exercise classes. Her greatest pleasure was the years she spent working alongside Marvin Parker distributing cookies weekly as the “Cookie Lady” for North Valley/Logan Health — Whitefish. Whitefish Winter Carnival honored them this year as their Senior Queen and King riding in the annual parade. She loved enjoying sunny days gardening around the house when she did not have other commitments. She cherished the independence of driving her own car, often helping other senior friends locally around Whitefish.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister and brother, loving husband, and both her sons, Daniel Randolf and Andrew William Saunders.  

She is survived by her daughter, Pamela Ree Saunders, her two daughters and their families, Michele and Scott Montgomery, and their daughters, Mikaila and Kathleen from Cle Elum, Washington; Shari Johnson and her daughters, Caley and Teagan Halloran here in the Flathead; daughters-in-law and families, Vara Saunders-Meiris and Greg Meiris with her sons, Mark and Stephanie and their four children, Erin, Rylie, Wyck and Auggie Saunders; Luke Saunders and fiancé Shianne Hansen, all from Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Sharon Saunders with her three kids and families; Drew and Kat Hudson, Paige and Van Saunders of New York; Lucinda and Danny Morrison and Quentin O’Hanlan of Geneva, Switzerland; Lee Saunders-Raynes with her son Duke in Alexandria, Virginia. There is also her niece, Chris and Bob Petitt of Sebastopol, California, who would visit every year and her Australian-hosted son, Paul Goodard. Special memories of so many fabulous supportive neighbors and friends in San Diego, Lake Havasu, Seattle and here in Whitefish.  

Our special appreciation and sincere thanks to the many nurses and caregivers at Logan Infusion and Hospice who helped her/us through this difficult journey. No memorial is planned as her ashes will be spread at a later date by family.

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