Marilyn Ann (Hefler) Saunders, (Ma, Nana or Mal as family and friends knew her) passed away peacefully Wednesday Oct 2, 2019, surrounded by family at her home in Falmouth, MA. Born in Brockton, she was raised in a second floor apartment on Copeland St, where her parents lived for more than fifty years. Her childhood coincided with the Great Depression and WWII and it was in those years she learned many of the skills she would carry alongside throughout her life, such as sewing, knitting, crafting, quilting, cooking and baking among others. It was also in those years she would develop friendships that would last a lifetime. After meeting George "Bud" Saunders at a local dance, dating followed (with an interruption by Bud's military service). Marriage and children soon followed and they settled in Randolph, and eventually moved to Avon, where they raised five children and made their home for over sixty years.
Vacations usually included family trips within New England, most memorable of which were the summer stays at Big Sandy Pond in Plymouth in the 1960's and 1970's. Numerous holidays were hosted by Mal and Bud at their Avon homes. Though Marilyn had a few stints working at banks at various times in her life, most of her adult years involved the multi-tasking business of caring for her family and home. But one of her biggest joys was spoiling her grandchildren, of which she had eleven over three decades. She became involved with the Avon Baptist Church when she moved to Avon and donated her time and energy to their annual holiday bazaar, helping to make that a successful event year after year.
Thirty-six of Mal and Bud's Avon years were at the house they designed and built on Page Street. Many, many family memories were created at that house, which was really their version of the Kennedy compound (without as much publicity or the scenic ocean view). It was a gathering place for family, friends and acquaintances. It was a home in the truest sense of the word and family revolved around that home until an unusually warm December day in 2015 when Bud left us. She was an amazing woman. Selfless almost to a fault, she was extremely kind to everyone, a great listener who put almost everyone's needs before her own.
Since January 2016 Marilyn resided at Heritage of Falmouth where she enjoyed life and kept active in daily activities.
She was the foundation of her family, and family was everything to her. She will be in the hearts of family and friends forever. She leaves behind her daughter Debra and husband Richard Merriam and her four sons and their wives, Stephen and Theresa, Richard and Karen, James and Elizabeth and Scott and Michelle Saunders. She was blessed with 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
A private service will be held at Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Falmouth on Saturday, October 12, 2019.
If you would like, donations in Marilyn's name may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 (alz.org).