Marion was wonderful company because she was interested in such a variety of things and could talk at length about any of them. Whether you call it a zest for living or a receptivity to new experience or openness to novelty, you could almost always count on an enthusiastic response from her. She was fascinated by politics and poetry and plovers and travel and photography, and by Asia and the Pacific and elephants and education, and by music and gorillas, and current events commentary and children's books. She was a voracious reader and a continual explorer of new things.
Marion had a wonderful capacity for sharing, and she did so in so many ways. She was always ready to offer moral support and encouragement, advice and strategy if you sought it, and active help if you needed it. She was perhaps the most generous person I've ever known in her willingness to share herself.
Marion could also be an awful lot of fun, and full of daring. She could giggle and she could throw her head back and laugh. She could also be serious and mentorly and full of advice - a roll she loved. The wonderful mix was a part of her charm.
Mary Anne Raywid
My 50 plus years' friendship with Marion was more than that; it was an education for me. To illustrate:
In the late forties, Allan, her husband who was Dean of the College of Arts & Science, UH/Manoa, and my former Poli-Science prof, had invited me to participate in his weekly strategy meetings to work for adoption of a City & County of Honolulu Charter. That led to another invitation that met weekends in their home to organize a League of Women Voters group here.
One day Marion invited me to accompany her to a Fort St. Hongwanji Church ceremony honoring her as a "Living Treasure". That opened my eyes and henceforth she became my role model. Outings with her such as to a lecture by Harry Wu on his crusade against China's cruelty or a Nanci Kreidman domestic violence report; a brass band concert and even our exploration of ethnic restaurants broadened my horizons immeasurably. I shall always be indebted to Marion for this.
Ah Jook Ku,
Charter member of League
"A life of service and accomplishment ....A great passion ....[for] equity and fairness [to] every issue she pursued.
... She made a major contribution to civil discourse in Hawaii. ...She facilitated the empowerment of generations of Hawaii's women ...A vital and fearless crusader ...A life of Aloha."
U.S CONGRESSWOMAN PATSY MINK
"She generously shared her time and talents with others in the pursuit of justice and democratic ideals .... She will be long remembered for her commitment to early childhood education and women's rights... The people of Hawaii have lost a dedicated public and community servant."
GOVERNOR BENJAMIN CAYETANO
"...truly a remarkable woman... A dedicated educator and a dear friend who devoted her life to the enlightenment of our people... Hawaii is a better place for her having passed our way..."
U.S. SENATOR DANIEL AKAKA
"The contributions of Marion and Allan Saunders to the Hawaii community can be seen and felt throughout our State."
U.S SENATOR DANIEL INOUYE
Twenty years ago it was my good fortune to work alongside one of the truly great women in Hawaii's recent history, Ms. Marion Grace Saunders. As a new member of the State Board of Education at the time, Marion taught me the importance of using both my head and my heart when making decisions on education.
Marion was a woman of great integrity, and she refused to be swayed by the pull of special interest. Her guiding philosophy was always, "for the children." This simple tenet helped all of us to keep our focus and to do what was right.
The one attribute I associate most with Marion, however, comes directly from her name - Grace. She always presented and handled herself with the utmost of grace: treating others with respect, accentuating the positive, and carrying personal warmth and a smile with her wherever she went. .
State House Representative
"Few women have been held in such high esteem ...as Mrs. Saunders ... Our community is greatly diminished by her passing."
SUSAN AU DOYLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE YWCA OF OAHU
"She had a considerable impact on our public educational system ...she was responsible for many civic improvements ... her many good deeds and accomplishments will live on forever."
HONOLULU MAYOR JEREMY HARRIS
"....the exemplary community service of educator Marion Grace Saunders spanned several decades, earning her respect throughout the state, the nation and the world, and securing for her a place of honor in the history of modern Hawaii .... The House of Representatives of the Nineteenth Legislature of the State of Hawaii hereby expresses its appreciation for the life of Marion Grace Saunders, and profoundly mourns her passing."
THE HAWAII HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Donation in Memory of
To League's Education Committee
Arlene Kim Ellis
For Marion's Service
LWV of Honolulu
Many others donated to the University of Hawaii Foundation in Marion's memory.