Martha Frances Saunders

September 19, 1928 - February 22, 2023
Martha Frances Saunders

Martha Frances Saunders, of Wilmington, North Carolina, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2023 at the age of 94.

Martha was born on September 19, 1928 in Davidson County, North Carolina to Fred and Ethel Leonard.  After graduating high school in Davidson County, Martha continued her education at the Ardmore Business School.  Martha had a long career as the lead financial officer for Champion Industries.  Martha’s work ethic as well as her knowledge and expertise were highly valued by Champion, as evidenced by the fact that—even after her retirement—Champion asked Martha to come back part time.  Although Martha found success in her career with Champion, her favorite job title was “Mom.”  She would frequently treat her children and grandchildren with her famous chocolate caramel.  Martha was a member of the Midway United Methodist Church.

In her retirement, Martha joined the Hanes Mall Walkers Club in Winston-Salem and enjoyed tending to her rose bushes.  Like any true North Carolinian, Martha was an avid basketball fan.  She could often be found making road trips to Charlotte to watch the Hornets play or watching a game on television.  Martha’s greatest joy, however, came from raising and showing her beloved champion Tibetan Spaniels and Pekingese puppies.  Anyone that knew Martha knew that her puppies were part of the family.

Martha was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Ethel, her sister Ruth Brandon, sons-in-laws Joe Bland and Gene Hooper, daughter-in-law Pam Saunders, and all of her beloved puppies.  Martha is survived by her sister, Polly Simms, her daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and David Polston, her daughter Janet Bland, her daughter Julia Hooper, and her son Terry Saunders.  She is also survived by six grandchildren Lori Polston, Kate Polston Supak (Mike), Matt Saunders, Cliff Hooper, Chris Hooper (Jillian), and Alex Hooper (LeeAnne); and thirteen great-grandchildren.  Additionally, she is survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Martha will be remembered as fiercely loyal and loving to her children.  She always wanted her children to have a better life and worked hard to provide for them.  Martha was a caring and compassionate mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.  She will always be admired for the love she gave and for her steadfast devotion to her family’s wellbeing.  Furthermore, Martha’s enduring sense of humor brought joy to those around her throughout the course of her life.  Martha will forever be in the hearts of her family and friends.

Martha’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Trinity Grove for the care that was provided to Martha during her long, brave journey with Alzheimer’s Disease.  You truly made Martha’s life better.  Because of your dedicated and compassionate care, Martha’s life was extended and gave the family much needed time and comfort knowing that she was well-cared-for.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Martha be sent to one of several charities: Alzheimer’s Association of Eastern NC, LSC-Trinity Grove Nursing Center, or your local humane society.

No further funeral or memorial service is immediately planned.  The family will notify loved ones in the future if a memorial is planned.


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  • March 02, 2023
    Leah Bailey says:
    God has truly received a new angel. I always remember her as being so spry and such a go getter. She definitely could keep ya laughing that's for sure. And yes her B-ball games were important to her. I remember herself and I going to see the Hornets play years ago in the 80's. One night we just disappeared and went to see Mugsy play. Aside from all her family she had such a great love for those pups & showing her furbabies. And yes I helped clean those kennels a time or 20 lol. She will greatly be missed by many. And although not my grandmother, I will always know her by Granny Martha. R.I.P. sweet angel and keep telling those jokes up there in Heaven.

  • March 01, 2023
    Jane Walser says:
    Janet, your mom always made me feel welcome and at home when I visited with you. Love and prayers to you and all the family. Love you much, Janie