Leonard Willard Saunders

by | Nov 5, 2020 | Obituaries

Jupiter, Fla.—Leonard Willard Saunders, 90, originally of Norfolk, died Sunday, October 25, 2020.

Affectionately called Lenny, he was the youngest of the five children, Ella Saunders Salomonsky, Lorraine Saunders Friedenberg, Thelma Saunders Steingold, and David Saunders, all of blessed memory, of Isaac and Rose Fine Saunders, who immigrated from Lithuania.

A first-generation American, Lenny grew up in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, attending Maury High School and graduating from the University of Richmond. Shortly thereafter, he married his lifelong partner of 65 years, Barbara Lipman Saunders, of blessed memory.

During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Army in Wertheim am Main, Germany, before returning to Southeastern Virginia to work in the family business, Saunders Provision Company. Only 29 years old when his father unexpectedly passed away in 1960, he became president of the company and ran it with his brother-in-law until 1987.

Upon retiring from that family business, Lenny promptly started a new family business with son Ken and several cousins that he helped manage until retiring to South Florida in 1994. Their Dunkin Donuts franchise evolved into a major wholesale bakery for 7-Eleven convenience stores.

Throughout his life, he was known as a provider, always caring and constantly grinning. He supported his children in all their endeavors and was especially proud of his granddaughters.

When he fully retired, Lenny reinvented himself from hard worker to relaxed retiree. He played tennis five days a week until he turned 80, spent hours overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoyed listening to live jazz. He celebrated his 90th birthday living independently at his Jupiter condo, surrounded by his whole family in person and virtually.

Survivors include son Kenneth Saunders and daughter-in-law Marybeth of Virginia Beach, daughter Karen Saunders Harrell and fiancée Thomas Brown of Jupiter, and granddaughters Hilary Saunders of New York City and Chelsea Harrell of Stuart.

Memorial services will be held privately and safely after the pandemic.

Memorial donations may be made to No Kid Hungry https://www.nokidhungry.org, Feeding America https://www.feedingamerica.org, or a charity of the donor’s choice.