Dr. Barbara Lea Saunders went home to the Lord on Sunday, August 7, 2022. She was born on June 25, 1938, to the late Margaret (nee' Hickson) and Willie Saunders, Sr. Barbara was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey and was a lifetime member of Atlantic City's Second Baptist Church. She was one of two students to receive the first scholarships awarded by the church.
She attended the Atlantic City Public Schools and graduated from Atlantic City High School in 1956. She continued to excel in education by obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1960, from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; her master's degree from Indiana University; and, her Ph.D from Ohio State University while on a full fellowship study scholarship in Reading Curriculum Instruction and Teacher Education in 1975. She was a devoted alumna of Central State University who gave graciously of her time and financial support to Central State. She became excited whenever she prepared for the annual home-coming events and social gatherings with her many college friends.
Barbara was an outstanding educator and scholar who engaged in a variety of interesting and challenging educational opportunities. At the start of her career, she was a teacher in Gary, Indiana and in the Philadelphia Public Schools; she then became an Adjunct Professor at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. She was also employed by the New Brunswick Public Schools as Director of the Title I and Compensatory Education Program. In 1980, she became an Assistant Director of Curriculum Services for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Following this position, she returned to Central State in 1983, as a Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Education. In 1986, she accepted employment with the North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. While employed for many years with the university, she served as Director of Student Teaching, Field Experiences and Graduate Internships and gained tenure as Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Moreover, her extraordinary educational capabilities made her a successful author, speaker and reading specialist consultant.
As a world traveler, Barbara's most memorial trips were to the "Holy Land" and South Africa for educational and professional exchanges. She also stood out for her leadership attributes. Upon graduating from Central State University, she was presented the "Most Outstanding Woman in her Graduation Class 1960" award. Later in life, she received the distinction as a "Who's Who Among Black Americans," and was honored with the Central State's Alumni of the Year College Education Award," along with other community service recognitions. Her leadership talents were further showcased in her former positions as the President of her undergraduate sorority chapter, Beta Xi Chapeter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., President of the Links, Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina with a Link Platinum Membership status in 2018, Chair/President of the College Reading Improvement of the International Reading Association and Chapter President of North Carolina Associate of Colleges in Teacher Education.
Barbara was well known for her stylist dressing, "Sophisticated Lady" demeanor and out-going personality. She enjoyed listening to jazz and "Oldies but Goodies", collecting antiques, meeting her friends at the beach, swimming in the ocean, walking, and shopping on the boardwalk.
Her church affiliations also included: Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA; St. Paul Baptist Church, West Chester, PA; and, Zion Baptist Church, Xenia, Ohio.
Barbara was a thoughtful, caring and loving daughter and aunt, who cherished her three nieces and great-nephew. She was their role model, mentor and devoted friend. She inspired them to attend college and to be their best. Her support and dedication to the family will forever be remembered. She will be sadly missed by the family and all those who knew and loved her.
She is predeceased by: her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Willie Saunders, Sr.; her brother, Willie Saunders, Jr.; niece, Deborah A. Saunders; sister-in-law, Wilma Badgley; and her favorite cousins, who were raised with her, Carrie Abrams and Yvonne O'Brian.
Barbara leaves to cherish her memories: her nieces, Diane M. Saunders (caregiver) of Northfield, NJ and Barbara Jean Saunders of Atlantic City, NJ; beloved great-nephew, William Kaighn Saunders and grand-nephew, Yashir Nixon, both of Atlantic City, NJ; cousins, Harry Abrams, Margaret T. Hickson and Richard Jasper,Jr.; god-daughter, Kathryn Hopson-Wesley; undergraduate college roommate, Shirley Lacy-Hopson and husband Wendell; special nephews, Christopher and Michael Hopson; special friends, Joan Henderson, Sandra Chavis, Jean and John Shotes, Elba Giles, Arcenia McCleandon, Marie Donaldson, Marsha Bayless, Eddie, Annette Miller; and a host of other relatives and friends.
A Memorial Service of Remberance will be 12:30PM, Sunday, September 25, 2022, immediately following Sunday Services at Second Baptist Church, 110 Dr. I. S. Cole Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Arrangements are entrusted to Greenidge Funeral Homes, Inc., Atlantic City, New Jersey, where condolences may be left at www.greenidgefuneralhomes.com