Eugene LeGrand Saunders of Norfolk passed on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Eugene grew up in the Crestwood neighborhood of Chesapeake and attended Crestwood and Indian River high schools. In high school, Eugene was a class leader and voted “Most Popular” in his senior class. As an active member of the Music and Drama departments, Eugene performed major roles in the musicals Porgy and Bess, Purlie Victorious, and The Wiz. During this time, he was inducted into the prestigious International Thespian Society (Troupe 1941). As a member of the choir, he achieved “All-City” distinction.
Following his father George, Sr. (’59) and brother George, Jr. (’76); Eugene (’78) was a proud alumnus of Hampton University (Institute). Eugene’s passion for Drama and Music continued as he performed in and supported several major productions as a member of the Hampton Players drama troupe. Eugene performed with Hampton’s Community/Gospel Choirs under the direction of Roland M. Carter and the late Robert Winder, respectively. Eugene also danced with the U.H.U.R.U African dance troupe as a freshman. Eugene was a contributing reporter for the University’s newspaper The Hampton Script and Editor-in-Chief of the 1978 edition of The Hamptonian; Hampton University’s yearbook. Eugene’s tenure at Hampton culminated in the attainment of the B.A. in Mass Communication. Later, in 1988, he received the M.A. in Communication from Norfolk State University.
Eugene’s career path was highlighted by service as photographer for the Department of Defense in Diego Garcia and Norfolk State University. Most recently; he was a faculty member of Medical Careers Institute (MCI), the medical affiliate of ECPI University, where he was an instructor of Communication.
Eugene was a life-long member of Union United Church of Christ where he and his family were involved in nearly every aspect of church activity. Eugene most recently served as Chairman of the Trustee Board until his recent illness.
Eugene was predeceased by his parents Lillie B. Saunders and George G. Saunders, Sr. He is survived by three brothers: George G. Saunders, Jr. (Cynthia) of Norfolk; Edward B. Saunders of Hollister, CA; and Darryl K. Saunders of Biloxi, MS and a host of relatives and friends.
A devotee of Arts and Letters, Eugene was a voracious reader and highly opinionated. He will be remembered for his intellectual curiosity, unique sense of humor, love of debate, attention to detail, strong work ethic, generosity to family and friends, and his passion for the tactile, visual and performing Arts.