WILLIAMSBURG—Ellen Saunders, 82, died peacefully on Monday August 3, 2020, at Hospice House of Williamsburg surrounded by her family.
Born Grace Ellen Thrift on November 28, 1937, in Hyacinth, she was the daughter of the late Elwood Silas Thrift Sr. and Lucy Dolly Dawson Thrift. She was the devoted wife of 64 years to William Arold Saunders Sr. and a loving mother and grandmother.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and her siblings, Lucy, Norman and Elwood Jr.
Known to her community as the beloved “Miss Ellen,” she was a musician, author, entrepreneur and a childcare provider for over 40 years. Graduating from Northumberland High School, she played trumpet, sang in the Virginia All State Chorus, played basketball and softball, was a swim instructor and cheerleader.
In addition to raising five children of her own, she cared for a multitude of others and claimed them as family. She was recognized in 2001 for her great contribution to the Williamsburg community for 30 years of service and as Best Family Childcare Provider in Williamsburg by the Child Caring Connection. She touched hundreds if not thousands of lives in positive ways. She made this world a better place for so many. She will be dearly missed.
Ellen is survived by her husband; her sisters, Peggy Peery and Sterling Sullivan; her children, Demetra Saunders (Brian), Kim Enroughty (Chris), Kathy Looney (Michael), Peggy Wahlstrom (Kevin) and William Saunders Jr. (Jan); her grandchildren, Amy, Joe and Adam Saunders, Matthew and Michael Enroughty, Cole Sanderson, Hunter, Drew, Ginger and Jacob Looney.
Visitation was held on August 19 at Nelsen Funeral Home, Williamsburg. A private service will be held with her husband and children and posted on the Nelsen Williamsburg Facebook Page for family and friends to view.
The family would like to give a special thanks to the Hospice House of Williamsburg and its staff for their supportive care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made online to the Hospice House of Williamsburg (https://williamsburghospice.org/donate/) in memory of Grace Ellen Saunders. Condolences may be shared at www.nelsenwilliamsburg.com.