William Saunders

Simple Cremation - Rochester, NY - Rochester Cremation

Rochester, NY: Monday, June 17, at age 93. Survived by his daughter Anne, his son Claude (wife, Gulchin Tarabus) and step-son David Andrews; grandchildren: Nina Tarabus (husband Justin Hyatt), Zoe Dinnean and Sara Dinnean; step-grandsons: Tyler, Justin and Nathan Andrews; and one great-grandchild: Luna Hyatt. Pre-deceased by his first wife, Nina (Plesums) Saunders and his second wife Barbara Andrews and step-son Kevin Andrews.

Bill was born in Pulaski, Virginia and graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in chemistry after serving two years in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946, where he described his service as “chasing the Germans out of Italy.

He returned to the U.S. and furthered his education, receiving his Ph.D. in 1952 from Northwestern, with post-doctoral research conducted at MIT.

He joined the University of Rochester Chemistry Department in 1953 and maintained a long and satisfying career in organic and, later, computational chemistry – a career which led to friendships around the globe.

He married Nina Plesums in 1960 and raised two children, Anne and Claude, inculcating in them a love for learning and the arts. After Nina died in 1982, he remained single for 20 years but kept busy not only with research and teaching, but also international bike trips, cross-country skiing, visits to the Finger Lakes wineries, and frequent concerts and theater performances. He met his second wife, Barbara, through friends at First Unitarian Church in Rochester. They married in 2002 and shared their love of travel, visiting many places in the U.S. and abroad. Cancer struck as they were planning a trip to China in 2004, and Barbara died in 2005.

Bill continued to enjoy bicycling, theatre and classical music. He read multiple newspapers daily, many novels, and tackled The Iliad and The Odyssey in their entirety, among others.

To talk with Bill was to enjoy lively conversation right until the end. He enjoyed life to the fullest, which in his last days included videoconferencing with toddler Luna and the first of this season’s strawberries.

A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, July 8 at 4 p.m. at Rochester Friends Meeting, 84 Scio St., Rochester, NY. 

Leave a Condolence

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.