At age 90, Saunders still walked a few blocks daily along Superior Ave. from his apartment to his office. He died Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the Stokes VA Medical Center, at 91.
In 2007, he told The Plain Dealer about his military career and could have been talking about his civilian one, too: “The hardest part was overcoming the prejudice. There was a great effort to make it difficult for us by creating unnecessary problems, with the intent of making us fail.”
The slim six-footer said he was the first African-American architect with the state of Ohio as a client. He also designed the first home for an African-American family in Shaker Heights, starting the suburb toward national leadership in voluntary integration. He created more than 20 Cleveland churches, including Mt. Pleasant Church of Christ, and many multi-unit complexes, including Rockefeller Park Towers and the Eliza Bryant Home.
Memorial service: 11 a.m. Feb. 4 at University Circle United Methodist Church, 1919 E. 107th St., Cleveland.